* Dollar index up 0.15 pct, pares overnight losses
* Greenback steadies after Fed minutes disappoint dollar
* Minutes not as hawkish as some hoped
* But prospect of a March rate hike remains
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO, Feb 23 The dollar moved away from
overnight lows and steadied on Thursday as the market reassessed
the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting, which
kept the prospect of a March rate hike in play.
The minutes of the Fed's Jan.31-Feb.1 gathering noted many
policymakers saying it may be appropriate to raise interest
rates again "fairly soon" should jobs and inflation data come in
line with expectations.
This initially disappointed dollar bulls, who had hoped for
a more hawkish tone after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week
that waiting too long to raise rates again would be "unwise."
The greenback also sagged as policymakers mentioned the downside
economic consequences of a stronger dollar.
The U.S. currency fell to a low of 112.905 yen
overnight in a knee-jerk reaction to the Fed meeting minutes but
had pulled back to 113.420 early on Thursday for a gain of 0.1
"Of chief interest to the market right now is whether the
Fed can still raise rates in March, and the meeting minutes did
not suggest that a hike next month is no longer a possibility,"
said Junichi Ishikawa, senior forex strategist at IG Securities
in Tokyo, on the dollar's modest bounce.
The euro was 0.1 percent lower at $1.0548, having
pulled back from a 1-1/2-month low of $1.0494 plumbed the
The common currency bounced back overnight as the perceived
chances of a French presidential election win by anti-European
Union candidate Marine Le Pen took a slight dip. The possibility
of Le Pen winning and potentially negative consequences for the
euro zone have recently dogged the euro.
Veteran French centrist Francois Bayrou said on Wednesday he
was offering an alliance with independent candidate Emmanuel
Macron, a move that could give the former investment banker a
much-needed boost to reach the runoff in May's presidential
The dollar index against a basket of six major
currencies recovered overnight losses and was up 0.15 percent at
101.380. It had moved between a one-week high of 101.720 and a
low of 101.170 on Wednesday.
Sterling was little changed at $1.2450 after
falling on Wednesday as data showed UK business investment fell
in the fourth quarter of 2016, indicating tougher economic times
(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Eric Meijer)