TOKYO- The dollar eased slightly in quiet trade on Thursday as investors sit on the sidelines before the head of the US Federal Reserve gives testimony to senators later in the day.
The greenback was quoted at 102.33 yen in Tokyo, against 102.38 yen in New York late Wednesday, while the euro rose to $1.3693 and 140.13 yen from $1.3683 and 140.11 yen.
Yellen will appear before the Senate Banking Committee in a hearing delayed by two weeks because of severe winter weather that has also been blamed as a large factor in a recent spate of disappointing economic indicators.
Janet Yellen’s comments to the Senate Banking Committee later Thursday will be pored over for clues about the bank’s view on the US economy and its plans for its stimulus programme.
While she is unlikely to deviate from her testimony to the House of Representatives’ committee two weeks ago analysts will be interested to hear whether the bank expects the recent severe cold weather that paralyzed parts of the country recently has affected growth prospects.
A recent spate of downbeat data out of the United States in recent months, including jobs growth, have been blamed on the weather.
“Her comments on the current situation of the US economy, tapering (of its stimulus) and forward guidance (on interest rates) will be closely watched,” Barclays currency analyst Shinichiro Kadota said in a note to client.
Minutes disclosed last week from the Fed’s policy committee meeting on January 28-29 showed a generally upbeat mood, shrugging off fresh turmoil in emerging markets and judging that poor December employment numbers were mainly weather-related.
Policymakers agreed for the second time in two months to proceed with cutting its massive bond-buying programme, which it has used to hold interest rates low to stimulate investment and jobs growth.