The yen dropped as investors increasingly expect the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates later Wednesday.
Elsewhere, New Zealand said its current account deficit in the third quarter widened to NZ$4.75 billion from NZ$1.17 billion a year ago, but narrower than the expected NZ$4.90 billion.
Market participants awaited the Federal Reserve’s highly-anticipated policy decision due on Wednesday. Most investors expect the Fed to raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was quoted flat at 98.21.
Earlier in Australia, the MI leading index fell 0.2% month-on-month, compared to a 0.1% gain the previous months.
As well, data on repayment buffer mortgage holders have established helps the Reserve Bank of Australia for monetary-policy and financial-stability considerations, Assistant Gov. Guy Debelle said Wednesday
The data show two-thirds of borrowing is covered by a repayment buffer of at least one month’s required mortgage payment, Debelle said in a speech to the 28th Australasian Finance and Banking Conference at Sydney. For half of this borrowing the buffer is more than a year.
“As the time series on this loan feature accumulates it has the potential to be useful information for monetary policy as well as financial-stability considerations,” he said.
“It will also allow an assessment of the correlations between the various drivers of risk that may lead to credit deterioration.
Overnight, the dollar moved higher against the other major currencies on Tuesday, supported by the release of positive U.S. economic reports and as markets awaited the Federal Reserve’s highly-anticipated policy decision on Wednesday.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that consumer prices were unchanged from a month earlier, meeting expectations and following a gain of 0.2% in October.
Year-over-year, consumer prices were 0.5% higher from the same month a year earlier, compared to expectations for a 0.4% increase and after rising 0.2% in October.
Core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, increased by 0.2%, meeting expectations.
Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index improved to -4.6 this month from a reading of -10.7 in November. Analysts had expected the index to rise to -6.0 in December.