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FOREX-Dollar pulls off lows but under pressure ahead of Fed
December 17, 2014 / 12:41 AM / 3 years ago

FOREX-Dollar pulls off lows but under pressure ahead of Fed

* Risk aversion rises on Russia’s financial crisis

* Low Treasury yields amid flight to safety sap dollar’s appeal

By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The dollar nursed its losses in early Asian trading on Wednesday, pulling away from lows hit overnight on skidding oil prices, Russia’s financial crisis, and speculation that the Federal Reserve might take a more cautious tone on monetary policy.

Data released earlier on Wednesday showing Japan’s exports rose 4.9 percent in November, falling short of forecasts, helping the dollar regain some of the ground it lost overnight. Japan marked its 29th straight month of trade deficits.

The U.S. Federal Reserve concludes its final policy review of 2014 later on Wednesday, and is expected to drop particular words stating its intent to keep rates near zero as a prelude to raising interest rates next year.

“We expect the Fed to drop its ‘considerable time’ guidance in favour of a data-dependent approach. We also expect committee members to raise their growth forecasts and trim forecasts for the unemployment rate and inflation,” strategists at Barclays said in a note.

But with oil prices wallowing at 5-1/2-year lows, the U.S. central bank might hold off on any hints of hawkishness, to the detriment of the greenback.

The rouble last traded at 67.95 to the dollar after dropping as low as 78 on Tuesday. It plunged more than 11 percent against the dollar on Tuesday despite Moscow’s steep hike in interest rates. The steepest intraday fall since Russia’s 1998 currency crisis and debt default sapped investors’ appetite for risk.

The safe-haven yen benefited from the flight to safety on Tuesday, strengthening to 115.56 yen against the dollar, its highest since Nov. 17. The dollar last bought 117.03 yen, up 0.6 percent on the day but still far from a seven-year high of 121.86 yen set on Dec. 8.

Undermining investors’ appetite for the dollar, the yield on benchmark 10-year notes dropped to 2.060 percent from its U.S. close of 2.071 percent on Tuesday, when it dropped to a two-month low of 2.009 percent.

The euro was steady at $1.2504.

Editing by Eric Meijer

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