Monday, March 26, 2012

Dollar holds firm ahead of Fed chief speech

TOKYO: The dollar held firm against other major currencies in Asia on Monday as market players awaited speeches by US central bankers for clues on the health of the world's biggest economy.

The euro bought $1.3269 and 109.69 yen in Tokyo morning trade, compared with $1.3268 and 109.28 yen in New York late Friday. The dollar firmed to 82.74 yen from 82.33 yen.

The dollar was expected to trade in a 82.00-83.00 band on Monday ahead of speeches by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser later in the day, said Sumino Kamei, senior analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

With two other Fed regional bank presidents voicing opposition on any new rounds of easing, further resistance from Plosser may lead Fed policymakers to take the view that additional easing measures were unnecessary, she said.

"This could support the dollar against the yen," she said.

The euro was underpinned by the weaker dollar and improved risk appetite, dealers said, with signs from Germany suggesting a temporary increase in the Eurozone's rescue capabilities.

Boosting anti-crisis measures has been seen as essential in protecting the currency bloc against further financial turmoil.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel has resisted such a move amid growing discontent among German voters over the country's regional-debt assistance.

In recent days, though, European officials said Germany had signalled it was open to a more modest option that would let the Eurozone's new, permanent rescue fund run in tandem for a while with its temporary predecessor.

Though the total lending capacity of the permanent fund, or European Stability Mechanism, would stay at 500 billion euros, the move would increase the combined firewall to 700 billion euros.

The single currency also held steady as investors awaited the release of key German economic data as well as bond auctions in Italy and Spain.

"Germany will command the spotlight this week with data on Ifo (business sentiment) expectations, consumer prices, unemployment and retail sales due for release," Christopher Gore, currency analyst at Go Markets, said in a note.

"Market participants will also be watching closely debt auctions from Spain and Italy."

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Source From Channel News Asia

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