December 12, 2016 / 12:36 AM / 7 months ago

FOREX-Dollar stands tall as investors await this week's Fed meeting

3 Min Read

* Fed expected to hike at two-day meeting beginning on Tuesday

* Euro under pressure after ECB extends bond purchases

* Long dollar positions continue to rise-IMM data

TOKYO, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The dollar inched higher on Monday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting that was expected to deliver an interest rate hike as well as clues to future monetary policy, while the euro remained under pressure after the European Central Bank's dovish moves last week.

The U.S. central bank is widely expected to hike interest rates for the first time in 2016 at a two-day meeting that begins on Tuesday, even as investors wait to see if policymakers take a more cautious tone on the economy.

Markets were pricing in a nearly 100 percent chance for a quarter percentage point increase to the Fed's target range. Investors will be scrutinizing the Fed's economic projections for signs of any change following Donald Trump's surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.

"As we have been saying, it's not so much about what the Fed does, but more about what they say," said Masashi Murata, currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

Investors have continued to build up long dollar positions on expectations of higher inflation with increased infrastructure spending under the Trump administration.

"Part of the positioning is also seasonal, as some players try to accumulate long dollar positions ahead of the Christmas holiday," Murata added.

Speculators increased positive bets on the U.S. dollar for a third straight week through Dec. 6, pushing net longs to their highest since early January, according to Reuters calculations and data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday.

The dollar edged up 0.1 percent to 115.43 yen after earlier touching 115.55 yen, its loftiest peak since February.

The euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.0541, moving closer to the $1.0505 level that would mark its lowest point in around 21 months.

The common currency remains under pressure after the European Central Bank announced on Thursday that it will extend its bond-buying program longer than many investors had anticipated, although it trimmed the size of its monthly purchases.

The ECB's move also put more upward pressure on already rising U.S. Treasury yields, which also bolstered the dollar's appeal.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield was last at 2.491 percent, above its U.S. close of 2.464 percent on Friday and closing in on its nearly 1-1/2 year peak set on Dec. 1.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was 0.1 percent higher on the day at 101.65. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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