November 20, 2014 / 12:52 PM / 3 years ago

FOREX-Dollar eases off seven-year peak vs yen ahead of US inflation data

* Dollar pares gains after coming close to 119 yen

* Euro slips after weaker-than-expected PMI surveys

* U.S. consumer price data next in focus

By Jemima Kelly

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The dollar eased off a seven-year peak just shy of 119 yen on Thursday ahead of data that is expected to show U.S. consumer prices moderating as deflationary forces take hold across the globe.

The euro had also hit a six-year high of 149.120 yen in early European trading, but gave up its gains after PMI surveys showed weak euro zone business growth, underpinning expectations of further monetary easing in the 18-nation bloc.

The dollar earlier romped as far as 118.98 yen, its highest since August 2007, after minutes from the Federal Reserve suggested the United States is still likely to raise interest rates next year, in stark contrast to Japan's ultra-loose policy outlook.

The minutes helped take the greenback's gains against the yen to nearly 10 percent since the Bank of Japan sprang a surprise extension of its stimulus programme on the market just three weeks ago. The dollar last traded up 0.2 percent at 118.18 yen.

Lee Hardman, a currency economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in London, said the weak euro zone numbers had led to a slight pick-up in demand for the yen because of its status as a safe-haven currency.

The euro didn't fall too far though, despite the weakness of the euro zone numbers and comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi this week that the purchase of sovereign bonds - otherwise known as quantitative easing - was possible.

The single currency was down just 0.1 percent against the dollar at $1.2539.

"You need a major catalyst right now for the euro to break below the $1.25 - we'd need to see the ECB act in December to trigger further weakness," said Hardman.

The dollar had a brief hiccup on Wednesday as investors digested the Fed minutes, which struck a more cautious tone than the central bank's post-meeting statement last month.

But they also showed Fed members were relatively unconcerned about the dollar's strength.

"The Fed has left the green light shining brightly for further dollar gains," said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank.

U.S. consumer price and jobless claims data were due at 1330 GMT. (Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney and Masayuki Kitano in Singpore; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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