3 Min Read
* Dollar steadies after slide to 4-1/2 month lows
* Dollar falls vs yen, near lowest since November
* Fed speakers seen indicating three rate hikes in 2017 (Updates to U.S. market open, adds data, quote, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Dion Rabouin
NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - The dollar steadied broadly on Tuesday, hovering above 4-month lows, as a general risk-off mood in currency markets offset comments from Federal Reserve officials that suggested the U.S. central bank was poised to continue its rate-hike cycle.
The dollar remained lower against the yen, however, edging just off its lowest since Nov. 18. The yen has gained 4 percent against the greenback in the last nine days as markets have lost confidence in the Trump administration's ability to deliver tax reform and a promised public spending boost.
That waning of confidence has sparked risk aversion in currency markets, analysts said, prompting traders to remove or reverse bearish bets on the safe-haven yen, accelerating its gains.
"You’re seeing risk reduction ... but you’re also seeing a flight to quality," said Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange.
"Dollar/yen seems to be the path of least resistance given that there’s still a tremendous amount of positioning that’s long dollar/yen and so you’re getting shorts that are getting taken out of that."
The dollar was down 0.4 percent against the yen at 110.26 yen.
Against the Swiss franc, another historically safe-haven currency, the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 0.9835 franc.
The greenback got a temporary boost from a stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. consumer confidence, which rose to its highest level since 2000. Those gains, however, were short lived.
The index that tracks the dollar against six major currencies was little changed from its opening at 99.190, just above Monday's dip that took the index to its lowest since Nov. 11.
Analysts pointed to support from appearances by Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan and Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans on Monday as putting the emphasis back on the prospect of more increases in U.S. interest rates.
"Clearly we shouldn't forget we are going to see at least two more hikes by the Fed this year and that there is still the potential for the next one to be pulled forward to June," said CIBC strategist Jeremy Stretch.
On Tuesday, investors will hear comments from Kansas City Fed chief Esther George and further remarks from Kaplan, who will participate in a question-and-answer session with the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations. (Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Andrea Ricci)