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Forex - Yen steady ahead of minutes, Aussie flat with Stevens to speak

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Shutterstock photo - - The yen and Aussie held steady in Asia on Friday ahead of minutes from Tokyo and remarks by the central bank chief in Australia with investors focused on continued interpretation of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

USD/JPY traded at 120.80, down 0.01%, while AUD/USD changed hands at 0.7650, flat. EUR/USD traded at 1.0666, up 0.08%.

The Bank of Japan releases Feb. 17-18 meeting minutes at 0850 Tokyo (2350 GMT), and later RBA Governor Glenn Stevens gives a speech at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AMCHAM) luncheon an Melbourne (1310 AEDT, 0210 GMT).

Overnight, the U.S. dollar rebounded against the euro on Thursday, one day after experiencing its largest one-day drop in more than six years amid indications from the Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates by June.

On Wednesday, Fed chair Janet Yellen said the Federal Open Market Committee will remove a reference to remaining patient as it decides on the timing of hiking interest rates above current levels of near 0%.

The euro is down by more than 10% against its American counterpart this year, as the start of its highly-anticipated bond buying program coincided with expectations of tightening by the Fed.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the strength of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was quoted at 99.37, down 0.09% in Asia.

In Brussels, there was little progress in talks between Greece and its euro zone creditors aimed at settling the reform measures needed by Athens to secure a critical bailout package.

If a resolution is not reached by Thursday night, the next opportunity for an accord will be on Monday afternoon when Greece prime minister Alexis Tsipras is scheduled to meet with Germany chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

While the Fed appeared to be hawkish with the removal of patience, Yellen appeared to strike a dovish tone with forecasts for weaker inflation and GDP growth.

The Fed expects Real GDP to grow between 2.1 and 3.1% for the remainder of 2015, while it predicted inflation of 0.6% to 0.8% by the end of the year. For 2016, the Fed projects that inflation will be between 1.7% and 1.9%.

Last month in testimony before Congress, Yellen said that the Fed wanted to see inflation move toward its target goal of 2% before it raised interest rates.

In spite of the revisions, Yellen went out of her way to note that overall the forecast was not weak. She pointed to improvements in the labor market, forecasts for "above trend growth," and estimates of lowering unemployment to 5% by year's end to underscore her optimism.

"We do see considerable underlying strength in the US economy in spite of what looks like a weaker first quarter," Yellen said. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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