Dollar eases before Fed, BOJ meetings; oil up

Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:09pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar weakened on Monday on expectations the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates unchanged after its policymakers meet this week, while oil prices rose from multi-week lows.

A growing belief that the Bank of Japan, which also meets this week, will stop short of the dramatic action needed to weaken its currency also weighed on the dollar.

U.S. stocks cut early gains to end flat, with a rise in big bank stocks offsetting a drag from Apple (AAPL.O: Quote).

Weak recent U.S. data has boosted bets that the Fed will skip the chance to raise rates at this week's meeting, but investors will listen closely to Chair Janet Yellen's speech on Wednesday for any hint that the central bank could hike as soon as December.

Conflicting reports on what the BOJ might do have stoked market uncertainty. Speculation is rife that the BOJ will change tack in favor of a policy mix that would add stimulus while protecting banks from problems generated by negative interest rates on deposits.

Both central bank meetings are scheduled for Tuesday-Wednesday.

"The market is of the mindset that Tokyo is at or near the end of its monetary rope," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last down 0.3 percent at 95.858 .DXY after hitting a 15-day high of 96.108 on Friday. The dollar hit a six-day low against the yen of 101.59 yen JPY=.   Continued...

Floor governor Peter Giacchi (C) gives a price for Noble Midstream Partners LP, during the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid