Dollar mostly higher ahead of Fed commentary

Singapore (Oct 30)  The U.S. dollar traded higher against most of its major rivals during Wednesday's Asian session as traders brace for monetary policy commentary out of the Federal Reserve later Wednesday.

In Asian trading Wednesday, EUR/USD fell 0.07% to 1.3736. The common currency was supported Tuesday after European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said the ECB was unlikely to cut the benchmark interest rate or the deposit rate at next week's policy meeting. He also said the central bank had no instruments to use against the strong euro.

USD/JPY inched down 0.03% to 98.16 after the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that Japan's industrial production rose 1.5% last month after falling 0.9% in August. Economists expected a September increase of 1.8%.

GBP/USD fell 0.05% to 1.6040 after the Bank of England said mortgage approvals rose to 66,735 in September, from an upwardly revised 63,396 in August. Analysts had forecast a reading of 66,000.

The BoE said net mortgage lending ticked down to GBP1 billion pounds in September, from an upwardly revised GBP1.1 billion in August.

Meanwhile, net lending to individuals decreased to GBP1.4 billion in September from an upwardly revised GBP1.7 billion in August. Analysts had forecast increases of GBP1.2 billion and GBP2.5 billion respectively.

USD/CHF rose 0.14% to 0.9004 while USD/CAD inched down 0.02% to 1.0467.

In U.S. economic news out Tuesday, the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence dropped to 71.2 in October from an upwardly revised reading of 80.2 in September. Analysts were expecting the index to fall to 75.0 this month.

The Commerce Department U.S. retail sales fell 0.1% in September, while core retail sales, which exclude transportation items and gasoline, rose 0.4%, both in line with expectations.

Separately, the Labor Department reported that the country's producer price index contracted 0.1% in September, defying gains for a 0.2% gain.