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Dollar firms on receding Syria fears

JIJI

The dollar was firmer above ¥100 in Tokyo trading Wednesday on the back of receding concerns about a possible U.S.-led military strike against Syria.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥100.29-30, up from ¥100.06-07 at the same time Tuesday. The euro was at $1.3253-3254, unchanged from $1.3253-3253, and at ¥132.91-94, up from ¥132.60-63.

Market sentiment is improving because the United States now seems less likely to begin military intervention in Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Assad’s regime against rebels.

Syria agreed Tuesday to put its chemical weapons under international control, as proposed by Russia.

The dollar rose to a seven-week high around ¥100.60 after President Barack Obama, in a nationwide address, expressed willingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the contentious Syrian issue.

Still, the greenback grew top-heavy later as the Nikkei average abandoned most of its earlier gains.

“Overseas traders seem to be eager to lock in profits around ¥100.50 per dollar and above,” an official at a major Japanese bank said.

“Alarm over the Syrian situation is diminishing, but U.S. military intervention is still possible,” an official at a foreign exchange margin trading service provider said.

Concerns about a possible monetary policy change by the U.S. Federal Reserve also seem to be easing. The Fed is widely expected to begin scaling back its current quantitative easing policy at a Federal Open Market Committee meeting next Tuesday and Wednesday.