Dollar struggles as Fed minutes dampen rate-hike hopes

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TOKYO (AFP) – The dollar was under pressure in Asian trading Thursday after surprisingly bearish minutes from the US Federal Reserve s last meeting dampened hopes for an imminent interest rate hike.

In Tokyo, the dollar bought 123.92 yen, slightly up from 123.89 yen in New York, but sharply down from 124.32 yen in Asian trading on Wednesday before the minutes  release.

The euro ticked up to $1.1136 and 137.98 yen, from $1.1121 and 137.78 yen in US trade, winning support from news that European finance ministers formally approved Greece s 86 billion euro bailout.

The dollar took a hit in New York after US central bank dampened expectations for a rate hike that some had thought could come as early as September.

While Fed said the time for a hike was “approaching,” it singled out a slowdown in China s economy as a red flag for US growth.

Those concerns have been heightened since the last Fed meeting in July, before China unexpectedly devalued its currency last week in a move seen as designed to boost slowing exports.

“While the Fed is looking less likely to move in September, everybody is really worried that China is slowing down faster than what official figures are telling you,” Evan Lucas, at IG Markets in Melbourne, told Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, finance ministers in the 19-country eurozone gave the all-clear after the new bailout was approved by European parliaments, including the Bundestag of Germany, Greece s effective paymaster.

The long-debated bailout accord goes far beyond economic management to include an extensive overhaul of Greece s health and social welfare systems, plus its business practices and public administration.

2015-08-20

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