By Hiroyuki Kachi

The dollar was moderately lower against the yen and the euro in an otherwise quiet Asian session on Wednesday, with investors taking profits on recent gains in the U.S. currency.

Around 0350 GMT, the U.S. currency was changing hands at Y117.67, compared with Y117.88 late Tuesday in New York.

The WSJ Dollar Index, a measure of the U.S. dollar against a basket of major currencies, was down 0.11% at 93.26. With short covering kicking in, the euro gained to $1.0410 from $1.0388 late Tuesday after touching a fresh multi-year low of $1.0352, its lowest level since January 2003.

Investors moved to lock in profits after scooping up the U.S. currency against the yen yesterday on comments from the Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda that the yen's level after its recent weakness is not a surprise.

After the BOJ decision to stand pat its monetary policy, Mr. Kuroda told at a press conference Tuesday that he doesn't think the yen had weakened to a level that should surprise anyone, adding that the yen's recent weakness is better explained as a rise in the dollar against a broad range of currencies.

"Everybody is saying that the yen is very weak, but it is only back at where it was in February," Mr. Kuroda said.

"The dollar broke above the Y118-threshold again today. But people didn't join the buying to seek further upside as seen yesterday, prompting profit taking among investors ahead of the Christmas holiday," said Yuzo Sakai, manager of FX business promotion at Tokyo Forex and Ueda Harlow.

The dollar's upside toward Y118.66, its 10-month high set on Dec. 15, appears close, but is actually still some distance off, said Takuya Kanda, senior researcher at Gaitame.Com Research Institute in a note.

Another rise in U.S. long-term rates is "indispensable" for the dollar to reach a fresh high above Y118.66, he said. However, the tempo of U.S. Treasury yield rises has been slowing, curbing the dollar's upside. Both U.S. Treasurys and the currency market are set to lose momentum as the year-end holiday season approaches, he said.

In other currency trades, the euro was at Y122.49 from Y122.37 late Tuesday.

Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 22:50 EST / 0350 GMT

Latest Previous %Chg Daily Daily %Chg

Dollar Rates Close High Low 12/31

USD/JPY Japan 117.68-69 117.86-87 -0.15 118.07 117.56 -2.17

EUR/USD Euro 1.0409-12 1.0386-89 +0.22 1.0420 1.0384 -4.14

GBP/USD U.K. 1.2376-781.2367-69 +0.07 1.2384 1.2350 -16.01

USD/CHF Switzerland 1.0271-75 1.0286-90 -0.15 1.0297 1.0266 +2.52

USD/CAD Canada 1.3367-72 1.3366-71 +0.01 1.3386 1.3363 -3.39

AUD/USD Australia 0.7253-57 0.7257-61 -0.06 0.7274 0.7251 -0.44

NZD/USD New Zealand 0.6933-39 0.6914-20 +0.27 0.6948 0.6915 +1.51

Euro Rate

EUR/JPY Japan 122.51-55 122.40-44 +0.09 122.64 122.39 -6.32

Source: Tullett Prebon

Write to Hiroyuki Kachi at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2016 23:21 ET (04:21 GMT)

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