TOKYO: The dollar was barely moved on Thursday ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen that could shed light on whether a 2016 rate hike is still on the cards.
With the economic calendar relatively light this week, investors largely stayed on the sidelines before Yellen’s remarks at the Jackson Hole symposium of global bankers Friday.
In Tokyo morning trade, the greenback ticked down to 100.44 yen from 100.45 yen Wednesday in New York, while the euro bought $1.1273 against $1.1264.
“I don’t think greenback buying will accelerate sharply ahead of Yellen’s speech, but more strong data could underpin the currency,” Naoto Ono, an analyst in Tokyo at Ueda Harlow, wrote in a commentary.
Dealers will be hoping Yellen will provide some forward guidance on monetary policy and whether stronger data from the world’s top economy will increase the likelihood and timing of a rate hike this year.
Divergent views from Fed officials in recent weeks have kept markets guessing about the bank’s intentions.
Light trading volumes this week belied the possibility of a volatile reaction to Yellen’s closely watched remarks, analysts said.
“It is fairly quiet on the volumes front, which means when something does go through—even if it is in small size—you are prone to more volatility or jumpy markets,” Mazen Issa, a New York-based senior foreign-exchange strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, told Bloomberg News.
The US unit was also marginally lower against the South Korean won, the Taiwan and Singapore dollar, Malaysia’s ringgit and the Thai baht, but threaded higher against the Philippine peso and Indonesia’s rupiah.
The euro rose to 113.22 yen from 113.14 yen in US trade.