December 26, 2017 / 3:55 PM / in 2 months

FOREX -Dollar index flat in light trade, bitcoin rebounds

    * Bitcoin recovers towards $16,000 after last week's rout
    * Speculators pare bearish dollar bets last week - CFTC data
    * BOJ minutes show central bank still committed to easy
policy
    * London, other major financial hubs stay closed after
Christmas

 (Updates market action, changes dateline, previous TOKYO)
    By Richard Leong
    NEW YORK, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The dollar was little changed
against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as traders brushed off
encouraging Japanese inflation data and Bank of Japan minutes
that signaled policy-makers favored sticking to a loose monetary
policy.
    Bitcoin staged a comeback after it recorded a 25 percent
decline on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange last week
, its biggest weekly drop since April 2013.
    Currency trading volume was light as London and many major
financial centers remained closed after the Christmas holiday. 
    "The market is going to be quiet for the balance of the
week," said Jason Leinwand, chief executive officer of FirstLine
FX Currency Strategy in Randolph, New Jersey.
    The greenback is expected to be supported into early 2018 in
the aftermath of the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30
years which became law last week.
    The consensus among analysts was a drop in corporate tax
rates would spur business investments, bolstering the U.S.
economy and the dollar even though the tax plan would add $1.5
trillion to the national debt in 10 years.
    "The dollar has some room to strengthen in the first half of
2018," Leinwand said.
    At 10:27 a.m. (1527 GMT), the index that tracks the
greenback versus six other currencies was down 0.09
percent at 93.262.
    The euro was little changed at $1.1867 and 134.38 yen
, while the dollar held steady at $113.24 yen
    The market had a muted reaction to data released early on
Tuesday which showed that Japan's core consumer prices rose for
the 11th straight month, up 0.9 percent year-on-year, and
household spending jumped in November.
    While the inflation rate remains distant from the Bank of
Japan's 2 percent target, the rise offered some hope that a
steady economic recovery will gradually drive up prices. 
    "The inflation numbers were pretty good," said Bart
Wakabayashi, branch manager for State Street Bank in Tokyo.    
    Minutes of the BOJ's October meeting, released on Tuesday,
showed most members shared the view that the central bank should
maintain its easy policy. 
    The BOJ kept monetary policy steady last week and its
governor reassured markets the central bank will lag well behind
overseas peers in ending its ultra-easy policies.  
 
    Among cryptocurrencies, bitcoin rebounded following last
week's dramatic selloff. It was last up over 13 percent at
$15,800 on Bitstamp, which was almost $4,000 below
its record intraday peak set on Dec. 17.
========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:42AM (1542 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1868        $1.1868     +0.00%         +12.89%     +1.1878     +1.1847
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        113.2400       113.2500    -0.01%         -3.11%      +113.3500   +113.2400
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     134.39         134.41      -0.01%         +9.14%      +134.5500   +134.2300
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9889         0.9884      +0.05%         -2.84%      +0.9914     +0.9884
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3364         1.3368      -0.03%         +8.33%      +1.3378     +1.3349
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.2702         1.2727      -0.20%         -5.42%      +1.2735     +1.2692
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7722         0.7715      +0.09%         +7.03%      +0.7726     +0.7714
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.1738         1.1741      -0.03%         +9.53%      +1.1755     +1.1730
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8877         0.8876      +0.01%         +4.21%      +0.8892     +0.8868
 NZ Dollar/Dolar  NZD=        0.7023         0.7020      +0.04%         +1.18%      +0.7037     +0.7011
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        8.3284         8.3107      +0.21%         -3.57%      +8.3434     +8.3140
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.8847         9.8775      +0.07%         +8.79%      +9.9028     +9.8690
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.3488         8.3396      +0.34%         -8.33%      +8.3623     +8.3343
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     9.9080         9.8740      +0.34%         +3.42%      +9.9260     +9.8770
 
    
    
  

 (Additonal reporting by Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo; Editing by
Shri Navaratnam and Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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