Dollar under pressure in Asia after Fed minutes

TOKYO- The dollar edged down against the yen on Asia on Thursday after minutes from the US Federal Reserve showed its policymakers are broadly against hiking interest rates too soon.

The greenback bought 101.81 yen in Tokyo midday trade, compared with 101.97 yen in New York Wednesday.

The euro fetched $1.3849 and 141.02 yen, against $1.3852 and 141.26 yen in US trade.

Minutes released Wednesday of the Fed’s latest policy meeting showed the policy board was in favour of continuing a steady reduction in its stimulus programme.

“Investors interpreted the…minutes on the dovish side, easing worries of an early rate hike,” Credit Agricole said.

Last month the dollar and global stocks sank after Fed chief Janet Yellen suggested rates could go up in early 2015, earlier than most analysts had expected.

“So back around we go,” National Australia Bank said. “The only thing that is going to solve this debate (over the tapering timeline), and support the US dollar, is the economic data.”

The yen also won some support after a Bank of Japan (BoJ) board member long seen as relatively pessimistic over the country’s prospects struck an optimistic note on the economy.

Ryuzo Miyao told a business leaders’ that “risks are largely balanced”, after the bank held fire on additional easing measures Tuesday, following a two-day meeting.

In China data said Thursday that imports slumped 11.3 percent year-on-year and exports fell 6.6 percent. Expectations had been for imports to rise 2.8 percent and exports to jump 4.2 percent.

The news adds to increasing uncertainty about the Asian economic giant and key driver of global and regional growth following a string of weak indicators including on investment and industrial output.