Greenback holds firm ahead of Fed meeting


AFP

TOKYO — The dollar held steady in Asia on Wednesday as investors await the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the day. The greenback fetched 107.23 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 107.15 yen in New York on Tuesday. The euro bought US$1.2951 and 138.89 yen against US$1.2957 and 138.85 yen. Thursday’s too-close-to-call vote on independence for Scotland was playing on the pound, which fetched US$1.6284 against US$1.6268 in U.S. trade.

The latest polls show a narrow lead for the “No” camp, but the pro-independence side has gained ground in recent weeks, while there are fears that a break-up of the United Kingdom will hammer its economy.

While the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to wrap up a two-day policy meeting, there is caution about the prospects of it tightening monetary policy. The policy committee will release its statement around 1800 GMT Wednesday, followed by a news conference with bank chief Janet Yellen. Dealers are looking for any change in the Fed’s statement, which could give a clue about when it will start raising rates. “We look for no change in the Fed funds target, and see another US$10 billion reduction” in its asset-purchasing program, Credit Agricole said in a note. “We believe that a move to amend the forward guidance is afoot, dropping or downplaying the reference to low rates for a ‘considerable time’ … However, the timing of the shift is uncertain,” it added. The dollar was lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It eased to 1,034.45 South Korean won from 1,036.75 won on Tuesday, to SG$1.2622 from SG$1.2636, and to 32.23 Thai baht from 32.27 baht. The dollar also edged down to 44.17 Philippine pesos from 44.33 pesos, to 60.99 Indian rupees from 61.08 rupees, and to 11,943.80 Indonesian rupiah from 11,960.00 rupiah.

The Australian dollar rose to 90.74 U.S. cents from 89.92 cents, while the Chinese yuan fetched 17.42 yen against 17.41 yen.