Dollar Holds Gains against Peers on Ukraine Tensions, Yellen’s Speech

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Dollar Holds Gains against Peers on Ukraine Tensions, Yellen’s SpeechThe dollar maintained its gain against several of its 16 peers as investors fretted about the Ukraine tensions, making them opt for safe-haven assets.

The dollar was trading 0.3 percent higher at 102.19 yen at 1:48 p.m. in Tokyo, extending its earlier gains of 0.4 percent in the past three days that saw it touch 101.92 on Tuesday. The yen declined after Japanese shares gain their highest in nearly two months. The greenback remained slightly unchanged at $1.3818 a euro. The yen was trading at 141.21 for every euro, up from 140.79.

News that China, Australia’s largest trading partner, recorded stronger economic growth than earlier forecasted sent the Aussie up to 93.64 U.S. cents, reversing its earlier losses of 0.3 percent that saw it touch 93.62 cents. The currency plunged 0.7 percent on Tuesday, its steepest since March 19.

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The New Zealand dollar plunged 0.6 percent to trade at 85.88 U.S. cents after dairy prices tumbled while inflation declined. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which monitors the greenback against 10 counterparts, remained slightly unchanged at 1,010.02, and is headed to close its most since April 7.

Ukraine launched a military offensive to edge out pro-Russian separatists from its eastern Donetsk region. Kiev claimed that Russian Special Forces were part of the militants opposing the government.

This has triggered fears that Russia may respond, leading the U.S. and its Western allies to consider increasing sanctions against certain Russians and even companies.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to give a speech at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, after which she will answer questions. China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported today that the economy expanded 7.4 percent in the three months ended March from a year ago, against economists’ forecast of a 7.3 percent growth.

The Japanese Topix Index of shares grew 2.3 percent, the highest since February 21. New Zealand’s consumer prices surged 1.5 percent year-on-year in the January-March quarter, down from 1.6 percent the preceding quarter. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com