* Risk aversion ebbs slightly after delay in US healthcare
* USD up as stocks firm and US yields rise after vote delay
* Uncertainty over Trump administration still limits USD
* Dollar/yen on track to lose more than 1 pct on the week
* Aussie hits 8-day low as iron ore prices decline
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, March 24 The dollar edged up against the
yen and euro on Friday, pulling away from recent lows, but gains
were capped as investors focused on a showdown between U.S.
President Donald Trump and members of his own party over a new
Trump warned House Republican lawmakers that he will leave
Obamacare in place and move on to tax reform if they do not get
behind new healthcare legislation and support it in a vote on
Postponement of the vote from Thursday initially knocked the
dollar and stock markets, but the dollar was given breathing
space as Treasury yields turned higher after Wall Street shares
trimmed losses to close little changed.
Equities in Asia took heart and firmed on Friday, with
Japan's Nikkei rising 1 percent.
"The dollar had been sold on the assumption that the
healthcare bill would not pass, but some of those positions look
to have been unwound. The market focus appears to have shifted
to how Trump can pass the bill, from if he can push the bill
through," said Bart Wakabayashi, branch manager for State Street
Bank and Trust in Tokyo.
"U.S. yields are higher and it's not hard for dollar/yen to
attract bids. It is often overlooked but the dollar continues to
enjoy underlying support from widening U.S.-Japanese interest
The dollar was up 0.35 percent at 111.340 yen,
pulling back from a four-month low of 110.620 struck overnight.
The U.S. currency was still on track for a 1.2 percent loss
against its the yen this week, during which the safe-haven yen
benefited from equity market volatility.
The yen has also gained from a scandal involving a land deal
that has chipped away support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
While that may appear counterintuitive, the yen has been a
safe-haven of choice even when risk events originate
The currency rallied when a devastating earthquake struck
Japan in March 2011 and triggered a nuclear disaster, prompting
an intervention by Tokyo to arrest its surge.
VOTE WAIT CONTINUES
The healthcare vote, which had been expected to be an early
legislative win for Trump, is seen by investors as a litmus test
for his ability to work with Congress and push through key
policies such as tax reform and infrastructure spending.
"Even if the bill happens to be passed, any bounce by the
dollar is likely to be limited. There are plenty of other issues
Trump has to contend with going forward, such as tax reforms,"
said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui
The dollar index against a basket of major currencies
was up 0.2 percent at 99.941. It was on track to lose 0.35
percent this week, during which it stooped to a seven-week low
The euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.0765. The common
currency, which advanced to a seven-week peak of $1.0825 on
Wednesday, was headed for a 0.3 percent weekly gain.
The pound was down 0.3 percent at $1.2490. It
scaled a one-month high of $1.2532 overnight on upbeat British
retail sales data.
The Australian dollar fell to an eight-day low of $0.7610
following a decline in the price of iron ore, the
country's key export product.
(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Eric Meijer)