* Dollar index steady below 1-month high set this week
* Pound stays firm after BoE’s Haldane backs rate rise
* Canadian dollar trades near 1-wk low after oil drops
* NZ dollar firmer after RBNZ holds rates steady as expected
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, June 22 (Reuters) - The dollar held steady below a one-month high against a basket of currencies on Thursday, consolidating recent gains tied to bets the U.S. central bank could increase rates once more later this year.
The New Zealand dollar edged higher, after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged as widely expected and reiterated it would remain steady for a while yet.
The kiwi rose 0.4 percent from late U.S. trading on Wednesday to $0.7248, edging back in the direction of a four-month peak of $0.7320 set last week.
“The main takeaways from the statement were pretty much in line with the last statement. They’re still optimistic and positive on the medium-term growth outlook,” said Peter Dragicevich, G10 FX strategist for Nomura in Singapore.
“Could be some people in the market were looking for the RBNZ to be a little bit more forceful in their rhetoric around the exchange rate given how it’s rallied the last few weeks,” he said, adding the absence such jawboning probably helped give the kiwi a lift.
The U.S. dollar held steady against a basket of six major currencies at 97.551, having retreated from a one-month high of 97.871 set on Tuesday.
“I think the (dollar) bulls are taking a little bit of profit,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader for FX broker OANDA in Singapore.
While the Fed has sounded hawkish, recent U.S. economic data “hasn’t been stellar”, Innes added.
Last week, the Federal Reserve, as expected, raised key borrowing costs by a quarter point to 1.00-1.25 percent, while Fed Chair Janet Yellen downplayed recent signs of inflation softening.
Sterling inched up 0.1 percent to $1.2677, after having risen 0.3 percent on Wednesday when the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, said he expected to back a British rate increase this year.
The Canadian dollar last traded at 1.3322 per U.S. dollar, within sight of Wednesday’s low of 1.3348, which was the loonie’s weakest level since June 12.
It slipped on Wednesday as the price of oil, a major Canadian export, hit a 10-month low. (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano in SINGAPORE; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)