(Adds new quote, updates prices)
* Yellen's upbeat comments support dollar
* Euro edges back down towards 14-year lows
* Yen skids after BOJ keeps policy on hold
* Graphic: World FX rates in 2016 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
By Jemima Kelly
LONDON, Dec 20 The dollar rebounded towards
14-year highs on Tuesday, boosted by upbeat comments from
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that kept alive market
expectations for swifter U.S. interest rate hikes next year than
had been expected.
The greenback climbed broadly but its gains were strongest
against the yen, which slid as much as 1 percent after the Bank
of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged.
The yen surged along with fellow safe-haven the Swiss franc
on Monday after deadly incidents in Turkey and Germany, but both
currencies have now given up those gains.
Yellen said late on Monday that the U.S. labour market had
improved to its strongest in almost a decade, suggesting wage
growth is picking up.
Yellen did not mention monetary policy but some analysts
said the fact that she did not pour cold water on investors'
moves to price in a possible three rate hikes in 2017 following
the Fed's policy statement and rate rise last week was a
catalyst for dollar strength.
"She didn't use the opportunity to take the market back from
being overly hawkish," said UBS currency strategist Constantin
Bolz, in Zurich. "Maybe there were some people who...thought
they would hold off from further dollar longs until she spoke,
in case she were to row back."
The dollar rose 0.4 percent against a basket of major
currencies to 103.52, a hair's breadth away from last
week's 14-year peak of 103.56. The euro fell to $1.0369,
close to last week's 14-year low.
The greenback was also within sight of a 10-1/2-month high
of 118.66 yen touched last week, at 118.24 yen.
Expectations that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's
administration will go ahead with tax cuts and fiscal spending,
leading to higher U.S. growth and inflation, have lifted U.S.
bond yields and the dollar in the past six weeks, in what has
become known as the Trumpflation trade.
"The market is still playing this prospect of (policy)
normalization and, as long as this is the case, the dollar will
remain strong or even appreciate a little further," said
Commerzbank currency strategist Thu Lan Nguyen, in Frankfurt.
Analysts said the yen was the most obvious play against the
dollar in the Trumpflation trade because the Bank of Japan is
the central bank that looks furthest away from normalising its
The BOJ on Tuesday affirmed its twin targets of minus 0.10
percent interest on some excess reserves and a zero percent
10-year government bond yield.
For Reuters new Live Markets blog on European and UK stock
markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by