Off The Wire
FOREX -Dollar index flat in light trade, bitcoin rebounds
* Speculators pare bearish dollar bets last week - CFTC data
* BOJ minutes show central bank still committed to easy policy
* London, other major financial hubs stay closed after Christmas
(Updates market action, changes dateline, previous TOKYO)
By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as traders brushed off encouraging Japanese inflation data and Bank of Japan minutes that signaled policy-makers favored sticking to a loose monetary policy.
Bitcoin staged a comeback after it recorded a 25 percent decline on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange last week , its biggest weekly drop since April 2013.
Currency trading volume was light as London and many major financial centers remained closed after the Christmas holiday.
"The market is going to be quiet for the balance of the week," said Jason Leinwand, chief executive officer of FirstLine FX Currency Strategy in Randolph, New Jersey.
The greenback is expected to be supported into early 2018 in the aftermath of the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years which became law last week. The consensus among analysts was a drop in corporate tax rates would spur business investments, bolstering the U.S. economy and the dollar even though the tax plan would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt in 10 years.
"The dollar has some room to strengthen in the first half of 2018," Leinwand said.
At 10:27 a.m. (1527 GMT), the index that tracks the greenback versus six other currencies was down 0.09 percent at 93.262.
The euro was little changed at $1.1867 and 134.38 yen , while the dollar held steady at $113.24 yen The market had a muted reaction to data released early on Tuesday which showed that Japan's core consumer prices rose for the 11th straight month, up 0.9 percent year-on-year, and household spending jumped in November. While the inflation rate remains distant from the Bank of Japan's 2 percent target, the rise offered some hope that a steady economic recovery will gradually drive up prices.
"The inflation numbers were pretty good," said Bart Wakabayashi, branch manager for State Street Bank in Tokyo.
Minutes of the BOJ's October meeting, released on Tuesday, showed most members shared the view that the central bank should maintain its easy policy. The BOJ kept monetary policy steady last week and its governor reassured markets the central bank will lag well behind overseas peers in ending its ultra-easy policies. Among cryptocurrencies, bitcoin rebounded following last week's dramatic selloff. It was last up over 13 percent at $15,800 on Bitstamp, which was almost $4,000 below its record intraday peak set on Dec. 17. ========================================================
Currency bid prices at 10:42AM (1542 GMT) Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Session Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1868 $1.1868 +0.00% +12.89% +1.1878 +1.1847 Dollar/Yen JPY= 113.2400 113.2500 -0.01% -3.11% +113.3500 +113.2400 Euro/Yen EURJPY= 134.39 134.41 -0.01% +9.14% +134.5500 +134.2300 Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9889 0.9884 +0.05% -2.84% +0.9914 +0.9884 Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.3364 1.3368 -0.03% +8.33% +1.3378 +1.3349 Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.2702 1.2727 -0.20% -5.42% +1.2735 +1.2692 Australian/Doll AUD= 0.7722 0.7715 +0.09% +7.03% +0.7726 +0.7714 ar Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.1738 1.1741 -0.03% +9.53% +1.1755 +1.1730 Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.8877 0.8876 +0.01% +4.21% +0.8892 +0.8868 NZ Dollar/Dolar NZD= 0.7023 0.7020 +0.04% +1.18% +0.7037 +0.7011 Dollar/Norway NOK= 8.3284 8.3107 +0.21% -3.57% +8.3434 +8.3140 Euro/Norway EURNOK= 9.8847 9.8775 +0.07% +8.79% +9.9028 +9.8690 Dollar/Sweden SEK= 8.3488 8.3396 +0.34% -8.33% +8.3623 +8.3343 Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 9.9080 9.8740 +0.34% +3.42% +9.9260 +9.8770
(Additonal reporting by Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Chizu Nomiyama)