Dollar stuck in a rut, EM currencies pressured

SYDNEY Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:45am IST

A picture illustration shows U.S. 100 dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A picture illustration shows U.S. 100 dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The dollar was marking time against the majors on Tuesday after disappointing U.S. data dragged Treasury yields lower but failed to budge bets the Federal Reserve will start tapering stimulus next month.

The dollar was stuck at 98.51 yen having wandered between 98.35 and 98.70 overnight. The euro was equally becalmed at $1.3372 after trading in a $1.3357 to $1.3394 range.

The dollar index was parked at 81.375 .DXY, with support at 81.224 and resistance around 81.719.

For any notable action, traders had to cast their eyes to emerging markets where the Mexican peso and Brazilian real came under fresh pressure, despite the drop in U.S. yields. That could bode ill for emerging market currencies in Asia, and particularly the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee. <EMRG/MKTS>

Still, overshadowing everything was uncertainty about when the Fed will start tapering and at what pace it might scale back asset buying.

A sharp 7.3 percent drop in durable goods orders for July seemed to argue for a cautious withdrawal, and helped 10-year Treasury yields dip 3 basis points to 2.79 percent.

Still, much of the fall in orders came in the very volatile aircraft and defense sectors. Strip those out and core orders fell a more moderate 3.3 percent. The series also has a habit of showing weakness in the first month of a quarter, followed by a bounce over the following two months.

"We would not get too carried away by the weak durables print," said Citi economist Dana Peterson.

"There is positive momentum coming from the consumer, fiscal drag is dissipating and the housing revival remains solid," she added. "So we would not alter our expectations for growth materially or Fed decisions on tapering."

Looking ahead, the Asian data calendar is very light with only Chinese industrial profits standing out. Germany releases its Ifo business climate survey for August, while the U.S. has the Case-Shiller house price index, consumer confidence and the Richmond Fed survey.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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