June 18, 2013 / 8:52 PM / in 5 years

FOREX-Dollar gains on yen ahead of Fed; euro gains on data

* Markets wait for Fed to clarify stimulus stance
    * Bernanke expected to soothe market fears
    * Euro hits 4-month high vs dollar after German data

    By Wanfeng Zhou
    NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose on
Tuesday against the yen for a second straight session as some
traders bet the Federal Reserve may signal it is almost ready to
reduce its bond buying program aimed at propping up the economy.
    The euro hit a four-month high against the dollar after a
survey showed German analyst and investor sentiment rose for a
second consecutive month in June, suggesting Europe's largest
economy is on track for a modest recovery. 
    While many see the U.S. central bank trimming asset
purchases this year, most see higher overnight interest rates as
distant. Analysts say Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who
will hold a news conference after a two-day policy meeting ends
on Wednesday, will try to soothe investor nerves.
    Uncertainty about the Fed has led to a selloff in global
stocks in recent weeks, lifting the safe-haven yen last week to
its best weekly gain in nearly four years against the dollar.
    "Even if they're considering tapering moving forward,
tapering isn't tightening. They're still going to be easing,
they're still going to be expanding their balance sheet. They
wouldn't be tightening until they start to shrink the balance
sheet," said Eric Viloria, currency strategist at Forex.com in
New York.
    A winding down of the central bank's $85 billion-a-month
bond purchases would boost the dollar, which has been hit by the
Fed's money-printing program over the past several years.
    "The yen's fresh leg lower today could be a sign that many
investors think the Fed will signal a reasonable chance of a
taper as later in the third quarter," said Joe Manimbo, senior
market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in
    "The yen is seen vulnerable to less policy accommodation
from the Fed, a move that would tend to put upward pressure on
U.S. Treasury yields, burnishing the greenback's allure."
    The dollar rose 0.99 percent to 95.43 yen, having hit
a two-month low of 93.78 yen on Thursday.
    The euro rose 1.12 percent to 127.77 yen. Against
the dollar, the euro rose 0.22 percent to $1.3396, having
reached a four-month high of $1.3415.
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback versus a
basket of currencies, slipped 0.16 percent to 80.656.
    Some investors think inflation below the Fed's target of 2
percent potentially complicates the Fed's ability to reduce bond
purchases, lest the reduced stimulus causes inflation to
continue to fall.
    The U.S. Consumer Price Index edged 0.1 percent higher in
May, the government said on Tuesday, which was slightly weaker
than analysts polled by Reuters expected though price pressures
showed signs of stabilizing after a long decline. 
    Should the Fed reaffirm its commitment to the current pace
of bond-buying, the dollar could see some near-term weakness,
analysts said.
    But they said the yen's outlook may depend more on investor
sentiment for risk. Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
called late last year for radical monetary easing to revive the
economy, dollar/yen has been driven higher by rises in Japanese
share prices.
    Heading into Wednesday's Tokyo trading session, September
Nikkei stock futures pointed to a higher open, with contracts
traded in Chicago up 260 points at 13,350.  
    Worries China is slowing, coupled with talk of a scaleback
in central bank liquidity, led to a stock selloff and a sharp
rise in volatility. This drove investors to the yen, which tends
to benefit in times of market turmoil.
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