July 9, 2014 / 1:52 PM / in 4 years

FOREX-Dollar gains ahead of release of Fed meeting minutes

* Dollar edges higher, inflation in focus for Fed minutes

* ECB President Draghi to speak (Recasts with U.S. dollar moves, changes dateline; previous LONDON)

By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose slightly against most major currencies on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June meeting for any indications of how soon the U.S. central bank will increase interest rates.

The dollar has struggled to break above relatively tight ranges against the euro and the Japanese yen as Treasuries yields fall, as investors look for stronger signals that the economy is gaining enough momentum for the Fed to begin raising interest rates.

Any discussion by Fed members about a recent uptick in U.S. consumer prices will be a key focus for investors perusing the minutes, after Fed Chair Janet Yellen downplayed inflation data after the June meeting as being “noisy.”

“The characterization by Fed Chair Yellen of the inflation pop up as noise really took the wind out of the sails of the near-term hawks,” said Steven Englander, global head of G10 foreign exchange strategy at CitiFX in New York.

Most investors expect Wednesday’s minutes to be in line with Yellen’s comments in June, with some expecting a more hawkish tone. That leaves the larger risk of the minutes being more dovish than expected, which would likely send the dollar and U.S. bond yields lower, said Englander.

The dollar was up 0.14 percent against the yen to 101.71 yen, and rose 0.02 percent against the euro to $1.3608.

The dollar also gained against the British pound after data showed British house prices slipped unexpectedly in June, prompting more speculators to trim long bets on the pound and profit from its recent rally.

The pound dropped 0.11 percent to $1.7111.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a broad basket of currencies, rose 0.03 percent to 80.201.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is due to speak later on Wednesday.

Editing by Bernadette Baum

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