TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar was hemmed into a narrow trading range on Friday as traders contemplate the next moves by major central banks ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week.
The euro nursed losses after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde squashed expectations that policymakers will start to consider a tapering of bond purchases due to an improving economic outlook.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is likely to repeat Lagarde’s message that talk of tapering is premature, which would put downward pressure on Treasury yields and cap the dollar’s gains against most currencies.
“Powell has to reiterate the continuation of easy monetary policy just like Lagarde,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities.
“As a result, the dollar is likely to fall against the yen, but the larger trend for the dollar is still mixed. The dollar can still rise against commodity currencies if commodity prices start falling again.”
The dollar stood at 107.90 yen, close to a seven-week low.
The euro bought $1.2017 after falling 0.2% on Thursday.
The British pound was quoted at $1.3842 following a 0.6% loss in the previous session.
The dollar was little changed at 0.9169 Swiss franc.
The Fed’s next meeting ends on April 28, and while no major policy changes are expected, investors are paying close attention to any comments about the chance of scaling back monetary easing in the future.
Rising coronavirus vaccination rates and an improving economic outlook are reasons to be optimistic, but investors are scaling back expectations for a withdrawal of monetary easing after Lagarde said talk of phasing out emergency bond purchases is premature, analysts said.
Data on manufacturing and services activity in both the United States and Germany are due later on Friday, which could support positive economic sentiment, but the dollar and the euro are unlikely to move much as investors stick to the sidelines before the Fed’s meeting, analysts said.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars steadied on Friday, but traders said risks are pointed to the downside due to a recent weakening in commodity prices.
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