* Fed not as hawkish as many anticipated, dollar hits 1-mth low
* Dutch exit polls give big lead to current prime minister
* Euro/dollar hits 5-week high on Dutch exit polls
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, March 16 (Reuters) - The dollar wallowed at a one-month low early on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve sounded less hawkish as anticipated following its latest policy decision, while the euro stood tall as Dutch election exit polls gave the country’s prime minister a big lead over his far-right rival.
The dollar index against a basket of major currencies extended losses from the previous day, when it slid more than 1 percent, to touch 100.490, its lowest since Feb. 17.
The greenback took a knock after the Fed ended their two-day policy meeting on Wednesday by increasing interest rates but stuck to their projections of three total rate hikes in 2017, instead of the four some had grown to expect.
U.S. Treasury yields fell sharply in reaction to the Fed’s stance, prompting the dollar to fall more than 1 percent against the yen. The dollar, which went as high as 115.195 yen earlier this week, last stood at 113.420.
The euro climbed to a five-week high of $1.0740 early on Thursday, after surging 1.2 percent overnight.
The common currency was boosted as exit polls showed the Netherlands’ centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte roundly saw off a challenge by anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election on Wednesday, alleviating concerns towards Holland opting to leave the EU.
“The euro’s rise was an initial reaction to the Dutch exit polls and the currency could rise further when the European ‘mother market’ comes into session later in the day,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.
“How much further support the euro can garner would depend on how the Dutch vote could now impact the French presidential elections, for example by eroding support for (Marine) Le Pen. We could see the euro gain further if spreads between French and German government bonds tighten today.”
The pound was a shade lower at $1.2278 after jumping 1.1 percent overnight. Sterling managed to pull away from a two-month low of $1.2110 struck Tuesday on fears of prolonged political jousting over Brexit terms.
The Swiss franc was steady after gaining about 1 percent against the dollar the previous day.
The Australian dollar was down 0.1 percent at $0.7702 following its overnight surge of 2 percent to a three-week high of $0.7720. (Editing by Randy Fabi)