Source AP ©

Dollar drops vs yen as players repatriate foreign income

The dollar fell against the yen in Asia Wednesday on fiscal year-end selling as players awaited testimony from the U.S. central bank's chief to assess his views on the American economy.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 117.16 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Wednesday, down from 117.95 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3355 from US$1.3344.

Japanese exporters sold dollars during the Asian session to repatriate U.S. assets as Wednesday was the last spot-market trading day for the current fiscal year, which ends this month. Spot-market transactions are settled two days after their contracts.

Currency players were awaiting testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke before a joint Congressional committee later Wednesday for clearer signs about the Fed's view on the economy. The Federal Reserve appeared to have slightly toned down its caution about inflation in its latest statement, issued last week.

"The Fed seems to be less worried about inflationary risks, but it wasn't really clear," said Kosuke Hanao, a senior trader at HSBC. "So many players will be paying attention to whether Bernanke indicates anything about the possibility of easing monetary policy in the near future."

Elsewhere, the euro remained strong against the dollar as recent data and remarks from European officials suggest the euro-zone economy is upbeat.

The dollar was mostly higher against other Asian currencies, rising to 3.4645 Malaysian ringgit from 3.4505, to 43.195 Indian rupees from 43.005, and to 48.215 Philippine pesos from 48.025.

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