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Forex - USD/JPY softens as dovish Fed minutes suggested continued easing

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Investing.com - The dollar softened against the yen on Thursday after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its December monetary policy meeting, which suggested that the U.S. central bank has no plans to quickly consider halting its quantitative easing program.

The Fed minutes offset a largely risk-off trading rally that saw the greenback shoot up against other currencies save the yen.

In U.S. trading on Thursday, USD/JPY was trading at 87.19, down 0.18%, up from a session low of 86.77 and off a high of 87.36.

The pair was likely to find support at 86.54, Wednesday's low, and resistance at 87.36, the earlier high.

The Federal Reserve is currently buying USD85 billion in mortgage debt and Treasury holdings held by banks a month to stimulate the economy and encourage job creation, a monetary policy tool known as quantitative easing, which weakens the dollar as a side effect.

According to Fed minutes released Thursday, that policy will stay in play for now though it may wind down later in 2013.

"A few members expressed the view that ongoing asset purchases would likely be warranted until about the end of 2013, while a few others emphasized the need for considerable policy accommodation but did not state a specific time frame or total for purchases," the Fed minutes read.

"Several others thought that it would probably be appropriate to slow or to stop purchases well before the end of 2013, citing concerns about financial stability or the size of the balance sheet. One member viewed any additional purchases as unwarranted."

While the Fed may wind down its easing program in 2013, such as decision won't come soon, currency markets concluded, which weakened the dollar against the yen, another safe-haven currency.

Fears the U.S. will see a repeat of the 2011 debt-ceiling debacle, when lawmakers waited until the last minute to raise the country's borrowing limit, narrowly avoiding default, kept some investors parked in the safe-haven greenback earlier despite positive news coming out of the labor market that would otherwise fueled appetite for risk.

The U.S. will likely hit its borrowing limit in February after the Treasury exhausts special accounting measures to delay hitting the debt ceiling.

Elsewhere, U.S. payroll processer ADP said earlier that non-farm private employment rose by a seasonally adjusted 215,000 in December, beating market calls for an increase of 133,000.

November's figure was revised up to a gain of 148,000 from a previously reported increase of 118,000.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of individuals filing initial jobless claims during in the week ending Dec. 29 rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, compared to expectations for a decline of 7,000 to 355,000, which dampened the ADP's data.

Jobless claims for the preceding week were revised up to 362,000 from a previously reported 350,000.

The yen, meanwhile was up against the pound and up against the euro, with GBP/JPY down 1.08% and trading at 140.44 and EUR/JPY trading down 1.10% at 113.91.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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