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Wednesday December 16, 2009 - 21:28:31 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar higher vs yen after Fed statement

4:19pm EST

* Dollar bounces vs yen after Fed keeps rates on hold

* Fed reminds special liquidity facilities to expire

* Euro holds above $1.45 support

* U.S. consumer price data shows modest rise in November

(Recasts, adds quote, updates prices)

NEW YORK, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar was higher against the yen on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee left the benchmark interest rate near zero as expected and reaffirmed they will be low for some time. [ID:nTRU002430] [ID:nN16119711].

Voicing some optimism about a stabilizing economy, the Federal Reserve also reminded markets that it will let most of its special liquidity facilities expire by early next year.

Concluding a two day meeting, the Fed voted unanimously to keep benchmark borrowing costs in a zero to 0.25 percent range, and said economic conditions would likely warrant holding rates exceptionally low for "an extended period."

"By guaranteeing liquidity, the Fed encourages risk-taking and risky assets are being bought, but that's starting to boost the dollar-yen now," said Sebastien Galy, senior currency strategist BNP Paribas, New York. "It's the most sensitive pair to the yield curve, and since the Fed is still trying to inflate assets as much as they can, this is the right trade."

Against the yen, the dollar was last up 0.2 percent at 89.79 yen <JPY=>, pulling away from the day's low around 89.40 yen but failing to break through 90 yen with the peak just shy at 89.98 yen.

The euro <EUR=> was little changed at $1.4535 after going as low as $1.4506 and as high as $1.4590. The euro fell to its weakest since early October on Tuesday, according to Reuters historical charts.

"The market is not sure whether it makes much sense to buy euro-dollar on dips now or whether long euro trades make sense given the quality of European assets is degrading," Galy said.


Earlier the euro had bounced off the 2-1/2-month low against the dollar touched a day ago after data showing U.S. tame inflation last month suggested the U.S. central bank need not rush to lift interest rates from record lows. [ID:nLDE5BF1RP]

Traders then bought the euro after it failed to break below $1.45.

There was muted market reaction to Standard & Poor's cutting Greece's credit ratings by one notch on Wednesday , saying a further downgraded is possible if the government fails to gain political support for a fiscal consolidation program. [ID:nWNA0333]

The euro also showed limited reaction to the European Central Bank's final one-year liquidity operation at which banks borrowed 97 billion euros.

The Australian dollar <AUD=> fell 0.6 percent at $0.9009 after Australia's gross domestic product grew by 0.2 percent in the third quarter, less than forecast, while dovish central bank remarks prompted investors to trim expectations for tightening next year. [ID:nSGE5BE06K]

Australia lifted its cash rate 75 basis points in just 3 months but investors are now anticipating a pause at the February RBA meeting which some analysts suggest may even signal an end to the current tightening cycle.

Sterling rallied after a surprisingly strong UK employment report suggested the British economy was on the mend. The pound was up 0.4 percent at $1.6339 <GBP=> and the euro fell through key 100-day moving average technical support at 89.25 pence to trade at 88.96 pence <EURGBP=>.

Norway's crown hit a three-week high against the euro <EURNOK=> and rose sharply against the dollar <NOK=> after the Norges Bank lifted interest rates for the second time in three months. [ID:nOSL011988].

(Additional reporting by Steven C Johnson and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York) (Reporting by Nick Olivari; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

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