/

Dollar up ahead of Fed remarks

JIJI

The dollar rose above ¥99.60 in Tokyo late Wednesday after moving without direction in a cautious environment ahead of congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥99.68-70, up from ¥99.59-60 at the same time Tuesday. The euro stood at $1.3144-3147, up from $1.3068-3071, and ¥131.05-08, up from ¥130.14-24.

In overnight trading abroad, the dollar drew purchases against the yen on a bigger than expected increase in U.S. consumer prices and a rise in U.S. home builder confidence to the highest level in more than seven years, traders said.

But the buying soon fizzled out, causing the dollar to fall below ¥99 temporarily in late New York trading, according to the traders.

The sluggish move continued into early Tokyo trading, though the greenback cut losses and retook ¥99.50 briefly in the morning thanks to purchases from Japanese importers and buybacks from U.S. banks, traders said.

The U.S. currency moved narrowly for much of the afternoon before rising far above ¥99.50 in late trading on the back of position-adjustment purchases that set in as European players began to join the market, according to traders.

Many players sat out trading ahead of Bernanke’s congressional testimony, the traders said, also pointing to minor fluctuations of Japanese and Asian stocks.

The dollar was pinned to a narrow range for much of the day because it was supported by buying on dips around ¥99, while it faced downward pressure at levels above ¥99.50, some market sources said.