December 13, 2012 / 10:06 AM / 5 years ago

FOREX-Dollar recovers after Fed, euro slips

* Fed ties policy to specific econ target

* Fed extends debt-buying, in line with expectations

* Yen down across the board on prospects of more easing

* Swiss franc edges up after SNB announcement

By Anooja Debnath

LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The dollar rose on Thursday as investors looked past a fresh Federal Reserve stimulus programme, which was in line with expectations, and drove some to book profits on short dollar positions.

The dollar extended gains against the yen, and was seen likely to gain further on expectations the Bank of Japan will ease monetary policy further. An election on Sunday could see a new leader elected who is likely to apply more pressure on the BOJ to ease policy aggressively.

The dollar index was up 0.12 percent at 79.91, recovering from a one-week low of 79.711 hit after the Fed’s decision on Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was at 83.40 yen, not far from the 2012 high of 84.187 yen hit in March.

“The moves now are basically people unwinding positions, to be honest. Any such moves are now exaggerated by thin volumes as we move into year-end,” said Neil Mellor, currency strategist at Bank of New York.

The euro was flat on the day at $1.3070, pulling away from session highs of $1.31005, with stop loss sell orders cited under $1.3045.

“The Fed announcement has had a fairly limited impact on most of the majors,” said Adam Cole, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets. “The move now in the euro is more about market positioning and political developments, where the signs seem slightly more encouraging in Italy at the moment.”

The euro found some support after former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who had abruptly withdrawn support for Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government last week, offered to stand back and suggest Monti could become the candidate of a centre right coalition at an election expected in February.

The Fed said it would keep buying $45 billion of government bonds each month after its “Operation Twist” programme expires this month, in addition to buying $40 billion a month in agency mortgage-backed securities.

The only surprise lay in the Fed’s decision to explicitly link its policy path to unemployment and inflation, but that had little immediate impact as the Fed’s economic projections suggested no change in its pledge to keep rates near zero until mid-2015.

A rise in stocks appeared to be running out of steam with U.S. stock futures pointing to a sluggish start on Wall Street.

“I can’t remember shares falling on the day of announcement of previous QE. U.S. bonds also fell even though what the Fed will do is to improve the market’s supply-demand dynamics,” said Daisuke Uno, chief strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.

“The market’s reaction raises concerns that the market may be becoming more worried about the policy’s side effect, which includes deterioration in the Fed’s balance sheet,” he added.


The Swiss franc edged up slightly against the euro, after the Swiss National Bank left its cap at 1.20 francs per euro. The euro eased to a session low of 1.2105 francs from around 1.2117 francs before the announcement.

The SNB warned an appreciation in the franc would have serious consequences for the economy and reiterated it was prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited amounts to maintain the franc’s cap.

With the SNB out of the way, investors’ focus will turn to the BOJ policy meeting next week. The central bank is expected to ease again and investors ramped up yen selling.

The meeting will take place after Sunday’s election which looks set to see the opposition Liberal Democratic Party clinch a resounding victory. LDP leader Shinzo Abe has been pushing the BOJ for more powerful monetary stimulus.

Part of the reason for the rise in dollar/yen was higher U.S. Treasury bond yields, which makes the dollar relatively more attractive against its low-yielding Japanese peer.

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