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Dollar holds up ahead of Yellen speech

Tokyo -

The dollar maintained its strength in Asia on Friday as investors awaited a speech by the US Federal Reserve chief for any hint at when the bank will start raising interest rates.

The US unit was changing hands at 103.90 yen in Tokyo late morning trade, compared with 103.85 yen in New York on Thursday afternoon.

The euro was mixed, buying $1.3276 and 137.95 yen against $1.3280 and 137.91 yen in US trade.

“It is likely to remain very, very quiet today, ahead of Fed Chair's speech,” National Australia Bank (NAB) said in a note.

All eyes were on he Fed's annual monetary policy meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the heads of the US and eurozone central banks will speak.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is schedule to speak first, at 14h00 GMT Friday, followed by Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, at 18h30 GMT.

“This forum has been known to signal the Fed's intentions and at the very least guide market direction with regards to policy. So there is often a lot of anticipation,” the Australian bank said.

The dollar has risen over the past week as solid data and Fed minutes fuelled speculation that the Fed may start raising its key interest rates sooner than expected.

Unless Yellen is supportive of the latest improvements in the labour market, “there is likely to be some USD disappointment,” NAB said.

“The risks are far more weighted to USD downside, than up, at these levels,” it said. - Sapa-AFP

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