Dollar gains on new Fed taper expectations

New York (Nov 21)   The US dollar pushed upward against the euro on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's end-October meeting showed the central bank very close to cutting back its stimulus program.

The minutes said members of the Federal Open Market Committee expected the economy and labour market would keep moving ahead "and would thus warrant trimming the pace of purchases in coming months."

That contrasted with some economists' forecasts in the past two weeks putting the launch of the "taper" of the Fed's $85 billion a month asset-purchase program to March or later.

The news sent US bond yields sharply higher, the 10-year Treasury pushing to 2.79 per cent from 2.70 per cent prior to the release.

At 2200 GMT, the euro was down to $1.3435 from $1.3535 late Tuesday.

The dollar was essentially flat against the Japanese currency, slipping to 100.03 yen from 100.13, while the euro fell to 134.40 yen from 135.53 yen.

The dollar came off a fall in early trade that followed a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that was more dovish for interest rates than the minutes were.

But putting the two together, there was still the possibility that the Fed could take its first step to trim the asset program at its December meeting.

"There can be no doubt that the Federal Reserve is again getting closer to start moderating its asset purchases," said Harm Bandholz at UniCredit.

However, he warned, "The key uncertainty for most FOMC members remains, however, whether this labour market improvement is sustainable."

The British pound was slightly lower, at $1.6101 from $1.6120. The dollar rose to 0.9163 Swiss franc from 0.9111 franc.