US dollar buoyed in Asia by bullish Fed comments

[TOKYO] The US dollar held firm against the yen and the euro on Tuesday, after two Federal Reserve officials suggested the US central bank may raise interest rates as soon as next month.

The greenback reeled last week after Fed chair Janet Yellen evinced a decidedly dovish rate stance at the conclusion of a policy meeting on Wednesday.

Ms Yellen had cited concerns about the impact on the US economy of recent global market turmoil, weakness in China and Europe, and the plunge in crude prices.

But San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said Monday that recent economic data may justify additional policy tightening after the central bank raised rates in December - its first hike in almost a decade.

"The US dollar has continued to recover some of its lost ground post the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) announcement last week" as it was partly supported by Fed officials' suggestion that hikes could come sooner rather than later, National Australia Bank (NAB) said in a note to clients.

The comments helped the global reserve currency rebound from a near nine-month low touched last week after the decision, but further gains will depend on comments by other Fed officials, including Ms Yellen.

"The dollar can get some respite from here, though I'm not sure that the market is going to run far with this," NAB's co-head of currency strategy Ray Attrill told Bloomberg News.

In late morning trading in Tokyo, the dollar was changing hands at 111.91 yen, down slightly from 111.94 yen in New York late on Monday but still up from 111.55 yen late Friday.

The euro fetched US$1.1242 and 125.84 yen against US$1.1245 and 125.88 yen.

The greenback was also firm against most emerging market units, with the Taiwan dollar down 0.04 per cent, the Indian rupee off 0.03 per cent and the Thai baht weaker by 0.02 per cent.

The greenback, however, fell 0.38 per cent against the South Korean won and 0.08 per cent against Philippine peso.



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