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Dollar holds firm after soaring on Fed minutes

The dollar held firm against the euro in Asian trade Thursday after leaping on Federal Reserve minutes which suggested the central bank could exit its ultra-loose monetary policy sooner than expected.

The euro bought $1.3259 in Tokyo afternoon trade, down from $1.3283 in New York Wednesday afternoon. The single currency fell to 123.91 yen from 124.37 yen.

The dollar was at 93.50 yen, slightly down from 93.62 yen Wednesday afternoon in New York where the greenback soared on the Fed minutes.

The dollar slid against the British pound, changing hands at $1.5191 compared with $1.5231 in US trade.

The Fed minutes of its latest policy meeting showed divisions over asset purchases to boost the economy.

A "number" of participants said that an ongoing evaluation of the $85 billion per month asset purchases "might well lead the committee to taper or end its purchases before it judged that a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labour market had occurred," the minutes said.

The Fed minutes of the January meeting "showed rising concern about the risks of more quantitative easing", National Australia Bank said in a note.

Following the dollar's rally on the Fed minutes, the focus will shift to a string of US indicators due later Thursday, said Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo.

The greenback could rise to near the 94.00-yen level if the February Philadelphia business outlook survey shows an improvement from the previous month as forecasts indicate, he told Dow Jones Newswires.

On the other hand below-view figures could lead to a correction in the dollar's rise, he said. US January consumer prices and weekly jobless claims are also on the roster.

The flash estimate of French, German and eurozone surveys for both manufacturing and service sector activity will also be released.

The dollar was mostly up against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It firmed to Sg$1.2407 from Sg$1.2364 Wednesday, to Tw$29.63 from Tw$29.55, to 54.45 Indian rupees from 54.03 rupees, and to 1,086.33 South Korean won from 1,077.44 won.

It also firmed to 29.87 Thai baht from 29.84 baht and to 40.67 Philippine pesos from 40.62 pesos.

But it fell to 9,685 Indonesian rupiah from 9,693 rupiah.

The Australian dollar slipped to $1.0239 from $1.0359 while the Chinese yuan firmed to 14.98 from 14.93 yuan.