Dollar edges down in Asia ahead of Yellen remarks


TOKYO–The dollar edged down in Asia Wednesday, taking a breather from a rally driven by speculation the Fed will soon start tapering its huge stimulus drive. The greenback bought 99.48 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, weakening from 99.62 yen in New York Tuesday.

The euro strengthened to US$1.3447 from US$1.3433 while it bought 133.76 yen compared with 133.82 yen in U.S. trade. Dealers are awaiting remarks Thursday from Janet Yellen, President Barack Obama’s nominee to succeed chairman Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve, said a senior dealer at a major bank in Tokyo. Some investors want to push the dollar above the 100-yen mark but “many of us just don’t want to make aggressive moves before we confirm Ms. Yellen makes no negative surprises,” the dealer said. Yellen will appear before U.S. senators Thursday to defend her nomination as Fed policymakers debate whether the stimulus policy known as quantitative easing is still needed to support the world’s largest economy. The central bank will hold its regular two-day policy meeting next month after upbeat U.S. data fuelled speculation that it could start tapering its US$85-billion-a-month bond-buying program before year’s end. Traders also are awaiting eurozone industrial production figures for September, due later Wednesday, which will be followed by July-September economic growth data on Thursday. The dollar was higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It rose to SG$1.2495 from SG$1.2486 on Tuesday, to 63.73 Indian rupees from 63.53 rupees, and to 43.77 Philippine pesos from 43.70 pesos. The greenback inched up to 31.59 Thai baht from 31.57 baht and to 1,072.93 South Korean won from 1,071.20 won. The Australian dollar fell to 93.04 U.S. cents from 93.29 cents, while the Chinese yuan was at 16.30 yen against 16.31 yen.