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FOREX-Dollar catches breather after slide; still shaky on Ukraine tension

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* Euro zone inflation data eyed for hints on ECB outlook

* Lingering tensions in Ukraine seen keeping dollar shaky

* Kiwi hits 6-week high on strong business confidence poll

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The dollar held steady against the
yen and the euro on Friday, after a surge in U.S. equities
confirmed investor appetite for risk and helped the currency
recoup some of the losses suffered earlier on geopolitical
concerns.

The dollar remained on shaky footing, however, as another
potential flare-up in tensions in Ukraine would support
traditional safe-haven currencies like the yen and the Swiss
franc and put the U.S. unit on the back foot.

“Isolated incidents from Ukraine will continue to move the
dollar at least until elections are held there in May,” said
Masafumi Yamamoto, chief strategist at Praevidentia Strategy in
Tokyo.

“Any losses the dollar suffers against the yen will be
temporary, however, as bargain hunters will be ready each time,
supported by the notion that real military conflict will be
unlikely,” he added.

The dollar stood at 102.09 yen after hitting a low of
101.72 yen on Thursday due to jitters over possible Russian
intervention in Ukraine. Reaction was limited to data showing
that Japan’s core consumer prices rose 1.3 percent year-on-year
in January, the eighth straight month of gains.

Against the dollar, the euro stood little changed on the day
at $1.3707, after touching a low of $1.3643 on Thursday.

Market participants will be focusing on euro zone data due
later on Friday after German data suggested the country’s annual
inflation probably fell in February, pointing to the prospect of
a lower euro zone number that would add pressure on the ECB to
act.

Several market players said the euro zone numbers on Friday,
forecast to show price growth of 0.7 percent, could be
a decider over whether the bank will tweak policy next Thursday.

The euro fetched 139.94 yen, well below this
week’s peak above 141.00 yen reached on Monday.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. dollar
against a basket of major currencies, was little changed at
80.282.

The New Zealand dollar hit a six-week high after a survey
showed domestic business confidence at a 20-year high,
underlining strength in the country’s economy.

The kiwi dollar climbed 0.3 percent on the day to
$0.8397, its highest since mid-January.

forex dollar catches breather after slide still shaky on ukraine tension

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