The dollar broke the early lethargy with a hop to 104.48 yen when
the Wall Street Journal reported the Fed is on track to trim its
bond-buying program for the second time in six weeks, paring back by
$10 billion to $65 billion a month.
A lackluster U.S. jobs report had not diminished the central bank's
confidence in the economy, wrote Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath.
Investors suspect he has an inside line to policy makers and put a
lot of weight on his opinion.
It was enough to nudge 10-year U.S. Treasury yields up a couple of
basis points to 2.84 percent, following the U.S. market holiday on
The drop in the yen helped Japan's Nikkei <.N225> bounce 1.1
percent, and dragged up markets from South Korea to Taiwan. MSCI's
broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS>
swung round to be 0.36 percent firmer.
Investors had a wary eye on Chinese money markets after the People's
Bank of China (PBOC) announced a surprise injection of funds on
Monday aimed at curbing a recent spike in rates.
Traders on Tuesday said the central bank intended to add 255 billion
yuan ($42.13 billion) to the money markets, the largest single-day
injection since February 2013.
The move dragged the seven-day bond repurchase rate down to 5.25
percent, from 6.60 percent on Monday.
Dealers assume the authorities were attempting to avoid a repeat of
the severe cash crunch that roiled markets in June.
Likewise, investors will be watching liquidity operations by the
European Central Bank later Tuesday to see if it acts to correct a
recent sharp rise in money rates, a tightening of conditions that
could threaten the region's recovery.
The euro edged back a touch to $1.3542, not far from Monday's
two-month trough of $1.3508.
The early mover in Asia had been the New Zealand dollar which surged
half a U.S. cent to $0.8336 after inflation data came in higher than
expected and fuelled already intense speculation of a rate rise.
Annual inflation ticked up to 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter of
2013, the fastest pace in 21 months.
[to top of second column]
The country of 4.5 million is undergoing an economic revival thanks
in large part to China's insatiable demand for its dairy exports,
and particularly baby formula.
That has greatly lessened the need for rates to remain at record
lows of 2.5 percent and led markets to price in a series of hikes
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand next meets on January 30 and if it
does not move then, an increase is considered virtually certain for
Attention will also be on Turkey's central bank as a crumbling
currency piles pressure on for a hike in interest rates at its
policy meeting on Tuesday.
The lira has hit a string of record lows while the cost of insuring
Turkish debt spiked to 18-month highs as a government corruption
scandal undermined investor confidence.
In commodity markets, gold steadied at $1,251.49 an ounce, after
hitting its highest level since mid-December at $1,259.85 on Monday.
U.S. crude futures slipped below $94 a barrel in early Asian trade
on Tuesday as supply worries eased after world powers and Iran took
another step to end a decade-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear
Brent crude oil for March delivery eased 2 cents to $106.33 a
barrel, while U.S. crude fell 47 cents to $93.90.
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Eric
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