* Optimism rises that 'fiscal cliff' will be avoided
* U.S. House preparing to vote on Senate 'fiscal cliff' bill
* Yen hits lowest in more than 2 years vs dollar
* Australian dollar pushes higher
By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE, Jan 2 The safe haven dollar fell on
Wednesday as the U.S. House of Representatives seemed to take a
step closer to striking a last-minute deal to avoid triggering a
fiscal crunch that could threaten the global economy.
The U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to vote on
the Senate's "fiscal cliff" bill, Democratic Representative
Alcee Hastings said on Tuesday, increasing the odds that
Congress will stave off steep tax hikes and spending cuts.
The safe haven dollar edged lower, with the greenback
falling 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies to
The Australian dollar, a currency that tends to benefit when
optimism about the outlook for the global economy increases,
rose 0.6 percent to $1.0463.
"The mood now is that it will pass," said Satoshi Okagawa,
senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking
Corporation in Singapore, referring to the prospects for a deal
on the "fiscal cliff".
"If a fog caused by the fiscal cliff disappears, there will
probably be moves toward putting risk back on," Okagawa said.
The yen retreated broadly and fell to its lowest level in
more than two years versus the dollar.
The dollar rose to as high as 86.970 yen on trading
platform EBS as of 0153 GMT, the greenback's highest level
versus the Japanese currency since July 2010.
The euro climbed above 115.00 yen for the first time since
July 2011, and was last up 0.9 percent at 115.44 yen.
The euro rose 0.5 percent against the dollar to $1.3265