Dollar steady in Asia ahead of Fed meet


TOKYO–The dollar held steady in Asia on Wednesday as investors await the end of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, looking for clues about its plans for its stimulus program. The greenback bought 98.14 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade against 98.17 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon, while the euro was at US$1.3737 and 134.81 yen, from US$1.3744 and 134.93 yen. The U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is to wrap up a two-day meeting Wednesday, with markets widely expecting it to keep its US$85 billion-a-month bond-buying scheme in place until the new year. The dollar will likely move in a range between 97 and 99 yen for months to come until the market becomes more confident about when the Fed would size down its bond-buying program, said a senior dealer at a major bank in Tokyo.

A compromise plan struck this month between Democrats and Republicans to avert a default only funds the government until mid-January and extends U.S. borrowing authority until February. On Wednesday markets were also watching for jobs data from payrolls firm ADP due later in the day to gauge the health of the U.S. economy. Weak figures would likely strengthen expectations for continued easing by the Fed and weaken the greenback. Investors would also be watching a Bank of Japan policy meeting Thursday with analysts expecting it to keep its aggressive easing program intact. The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It weakened to 61.49 Indian rupees from 61.70 rupees the previous day while rising to SG$1.2397 from SG$1.2385. It also rose to 43.19 Philippine pesos from 43.14 pesos, and to 11,209 Indonesian rupiah from 11,100 rupiah. The dollar was a shade higher at 1,060.78 South Korean won from 1,060.72 won and at 31.07 Thai baht from 31.06 baht.

The Australian dollar fell to 94.78 U.S. cents from 95.07 cents, while the Chinese yuan edged up to 16.08 yen from 16.03 yen.