By Hiroyuki Kachi

The dollar was almost flat against the yen and the euro in holiday-thinned Asian trade on Thursday, with the greenback lacking clear direction given there are fewer players in the market ahead of the holiday season.

Around 0450 GMT, the U.S. currency was trading at Y117.55, compared with Y117.56 late Wednesday in New York. The euro gained only moderately, to $1.0435 from $1.0425 late Wednesday.

The WSJ Dollar Index, a measure of the U.S. dollar against a basket of major currencies, was down a scant 0.03% at 93.21.

With a three-day weekend in Japan coming up, dollar trade related to commercial transaction settlements by Japanese corporate players, such as exporters and importers, emerged earlier in the morning session. But the dollar moved only slightly for the rest of the session. Japanese government offices and financial markets will be closed on Friday due to the Emperor's Birthday.

The dollar has been gaining traction recently, with the Federal Reserve earlier this month signaling it might raise rates three times next year instead of twice, as previously expected. Such an outlook coincides with inflationary pressure, potentially caused by proposed fiscal stimulus and tax cuts under the incoming Donald Trump administration. But the dollar's ascent has taken a breather in recent sessions, due to position adjustments ahead of the holiday season.

"Basically, the currency market remains directionless," said Kenji Yoshii, FX strategist at Mizuho Securities.

The dollar may rise if there is a good showing from U.S. indicators later Thursday, such as revised GDP data for the July-September quarterand durable goods orders for November. But there is only a slim possibility the dollar will challenge Y120 by the end of the year, given a lack of fresh trading cues other than U.S. stocks and Treasury yields, said Mr. Yoshii.

"We should see just position adjustments for the rest of the year," said Mr. Yoshii. He added that it would be difficult for the dollar to push further higher.

In other currency trade, the euro was at Y122.67 from Y122.55 late Wednesday.

Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 23:50 EST / 0450 GMT

Latest Previous %Chg Daily Daily %Chg

Dollar Rates Close High Low 12/31

USD/JPY Japan 117.55-56 117.55-56 +0.00 117.71 117.41 -2.28

EUR/USD Euro 1.0435-38 1.0423-26 +0.12 1.0450 1.0424 -3.90

GBP/USD U.K. 1.2362-64 1.2351-53 +0.09 1.2379 1.2347 -16.10

USD/CHF Switzerland 1.0257-61 1.0267-71 -0.10 1.0273 1.0246 +2.39

USD/CAD Canada 1.3429-34 1.3410-15 +0.14 1.3448 1.3412 -2.94

AUD/USD Australia 0.7238-42 0.7236-40 +0.03 0.7258 0.7226 -0.64

NZD/USD New Zealand 0.6895-901 0.6895-901 0.00 0.6927 0.6890 +0.95

Euro Rate

EUR/JPY Japan 122.67-71 122.53-57 +0.11 122.83 122.47 -6.19

Source: Tullett Prebon

Write to Hiroyuki Kachi at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 22, 2016 00:31 ET (05:31 GMT)

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