Off The Wire
FOREX-Dollar treads water as investors await U.S. inflation data
* Dollar down for week, though underpinned by rate hike hopes
* US producer price index shows signs of inflation as CPI awaited
* BOJ Kuroda maintains commitment to easy policy
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - The dollar steadied in early Asian trading on Friday, on track for weekly losses as investors awaited U.S. inflation data to gauge the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will stick to its plan to raise interest rates again this year.
The Singapore dollar slipped 0.2 pct to 1.3550 versus the U.S. dollar from 1.3514 after the Monetary Authority of Singapore kept all its monetary policy settings unchanged on Friday, noting 2018 economic growth was likely to be slower than seen this year. The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six major peers, was steady at 93.083 , but poised to shed 0.8 percent for the week.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor said its producer price index for final demand increased 0.4 percent in September. In the 12 months through September, the PPI jumped 2.6 percent, the biggest gain since February 2012.
"PPI showed some signs of inflation, at least at the producer level, and next we'll get a reading on CPI," said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Helena, Montana.
"There are some encouraging nascent signs that there are building inflationary pressures, but with respect to looking at data points, we must acknowledge that these will be noisy data series," Northey said, referring the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma which battered U.S. cities in recent weeks.
Building expectations of a rate hike this year have limited the dollar's losses. Financial markets have priced in a roughly 88 percent chance of a rate hike in December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.
The Fed has increased interest rates four times in its tightening cycle which began in late 2015, and currently predicts one more rate rise this year and three in 2018.
The dollar was slightly lower on the day against its Japanese counterpart at 112.25 yen , on track for a modest weekly fall of 0.3 percent.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Thursday stressed the central bank's resolve to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy, even as its U.S. and European counterparts begin to normalize monetary policy. The BOJ chief said that though Japan's economy was moderately expanding, inflation and wage growth were still disappointingly low.
"Inflation remains around 0.5 percent, still below our target," Kuroda told reporters upon arrival for the Group of 20 finance leaders' gathering in Washington.
The dollar got some support versus the yen on Thursday when media polls showed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc could keep its two-thirds "super" majority in an Oct. 22 lower house election, reassuring investors that his "Abenomics" programme of yen-weakening easy monetary policy, fiscal spending and promised structural reforms would continue. The euro was also steady at $1.1833 , up 0.9 percent for the week.
(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Eric Meijer)