December 21, 2017 / 3:32 PM / a year ago

FOREX-Dollar drifts higher on U.S. data, tax plan

    * Dollar supported after U.S. tax bill passed
    * U.S. economic reports provide boost
    * BOJ keeps policy steady, as expected
    * Comments from BOJ's Kuroda contain no surprises

 (Recasts, updates prices, adds comment, changes byline,
dateline; previous LONDON)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The dollar edged higher on
Thursday after two days of losses in light trading, lifted by
generally positive U.S. data and a tax overhaul plan that could
prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a
faster-than-expected pace.
    Still, the U.S. currency was on track to post its worst
yearly performance in 14 years. 
    That said, the medium-term outlook for the dollar has turned
a little more positive than what many on Wall Street had priced
in, with expected rate hikes from the Fed next year and, at the
very least, modest benefits from the U.S. tax program.
    U.S. economic data of late, for instance, has become more
dollar supportive.
    Data showed on Thursday that the U.S. economy grew at 3.2
percent in the third quarter, its fastest pace in more than two
years, boosted by robust business spending and poised for what
could be a lift next year from sweeping tax cuts passed by
Congress this week.
    The Philadelphia Fed business conditions index for December
was solid, with a higher-than-expected reading of 26.2.

    "The GDP (gross domestic product) data came in slightly less
than expected, but it's still a really good number," said John
Doyle, director of markets at Tempus Consulting in Washington. 
    "At the same time, you take that with the Philly Fed which
was better than expected, and the outlook for GDP going forward
especially with tax reform has provided a modest boost to the
dollar."
    The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress this week approved a
broad package of tax cuts in what has been described as the
largest overhaul of the tax code in 30 years. President Donald
Trump could sign the tax bill into law this week.
    In mid-morning trading, the dollar was slightly higher
against a basket of major currencies at 93.352.    
    The euro was modestly lower at $1.1864, having gained
around 1 percent so far this week, supported by a rise in German
bond yields.
    Against the yen, the dollar hit a more than one-week high
after comments by Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda
reinforced expectations that the BOJ was in no hurry to move
away from its ultra-loose monetary policy.
   
    Some investors had expected hints that policy might be
coming to an end and the BOJ might raise its yield target for
Japanese government bonds, after a recent speech by Kuroda that
referred to the negative effects of ultra-expansionary monetary
policy. 
    The dollar was last little changed at 113.40 yen.
    
  ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:15AM (1515 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
                                              Session                                           
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.1868        $1.1869     -0.01%         +12.89%     +1.1889     +1.1850
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        113.3800       113.3800    +0.00%         -2.99%      +113.6300   +113.2100
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     134.56         134.60      -0.03%         +9.27%      +134.8800   +134.4600
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9891         0.9869      +0.22%         -2.82%      +0.9909     +0.9855
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3358         1.3373      -0.11%         +8.28%      +1.3386     +1.3333
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.2748         1.2834      -0.67%         -5.08%      +1.2839     +1.2720
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7687         0.7666      +0.27%         +6.54%      +0.7692     +0.7655
 ar                                                                                             
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.1738         1.1713      +0.21%         +9.53%      +1.1750     +1.1699
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8884         0.8873      +0.12%         +4.30%      +0.8890     +0.8872
 NZ               NZD=        0.7006         0.7010      -0.06%         +0.94%      +0.7019     +0.6988
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                  
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        8.3825         8.4093      -0.32%         -2.95%      +8.4184     +8.3708
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.9490         9.9809      -0.32%         +9.50%      +9.9930     +9.9440
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.4146         8.3939      +0.19%         -7.61%      +8.4199     +8.3860
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     9.9874         9.9687      +0.19%         +4.25%      +9.9988     +9.9592
 
    
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by
Jemima Kelly in London; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
  
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