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The dollar firmed a little but languished close to 17-month lows against the yen on Friday, with the Japanese currency poised for weekly gains against its major counterparts despite verbal warnings from Japanese officials.
Underpinning the greenback, a less cautious tone from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reminded investors that U.S. interest rate hikes are likely still in the cards this year, and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso let them know direct intervention is also possible.
Speaking at a panel with former chiefs of the U.S. central bank, Yellen said late on Thursday that the labour market was "close" to full strength and that inflation was currently held back by temporary factors. She said the economy is on a solid course and still on track to warrant further interest rate hikes.
While the odds of direct yen-selling foreign exchange intervention have "slightly risen," strategists at ING said they remain some distance away from any material action ahead of a G7 summit that Japan is hosting in May, unless the dollar were to sharply drop into the 100-105 area.
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said early on Friday that rapid foreign exchange moves were "undesirable," that the current yen moves were "one-sided," and that Japan would takes steps as needed.
EUR/USD: during the Asian session the pair traded in the range of $1.1355-75
GBP/USD: during the Asian session the pair traded in the range of $1.4045-75
USD/JPY: during the Asian session the pair rose to Y109.00
Based on Reuters materials
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