Dollar edges lower on Fed uncertainty, Ukraine unrest

The dollar traded lower against most major currencies on Monday on concerns that the minutes from the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting due for release on Wednesday will reveal a less-than-stellar take on U.S. recovery.

Escalating Ukraine unrest softened the greenback as well.

In U.S. trading on Tuesday, EUR/USD was up 0.38% at 1.3795.

The dollar weakened as investors avoided the U.S. currency ahead of Wednesday’s minutes of the Fed’s March meeting, which should provide fresh insight as to the direction of monetary policy.

Last week’s U.S. payrolls report came in slightly below expectations, which unraveled investors, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said slack labor markets will call for accommodative policies to stay in place for some time.

Demand for the euro remained firm after European Central Bank officials on Monday stressed that while fresh easing measures may be needed to steer the euro zone away from deflationary pressures, implementation of such tools is not imminent.

Last week the ECB left the door open to further stimulus measures, saying that unconventional monetary policy instruments may be necessary to avert the risk of ongoing low inflation in the euro zone.

Elsewhere, emerging-market currencies rose across the board on sentiments that even though the Federal Reserve will continue to unwind its bond-purchasing program this year, policy will remain loose for some time to come and make higher-yielding currencies more attractive.

Escalating tensions in Ukraine chipped away at the dollar as well.

Pro-Russian activists in Ukraine’s industrial center of Donetsk declared their independence from Kiev, a move Ukrainian leaders described as part of a Russian-orchestrated plan to justify an invasion.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier that Russian agents were encouraging unrest in eastern Ukraine and said Moscow was preparing military action in the region.

The dollar was down against the yen, with USD/JPY down 1.35% at 101.70, and down against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF down 0.50% at 0.8835.

The yen rose against the dollar and most currencies after BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda indicated that the bank was unlikely to implement further stimulus measures at present. He added that growth and inflation were likely to continue to pick up in the coming months despite a sales tax increase in April.

Earlier Tuesday, the BoJ voted to keep its key policy target of increasing base money unchanged at an annual pace of ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion after ending its two-day policy meeting.

The greenback was down against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.83% at 1.6746.

The dollar was down against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.46% at 1.0922, AUD/USD up 0.94% at 0.9357 and NZD/USD up 0.84% at 0.8671.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.62% at 79.84.

On Tuesday, the dollar will move as markets digest the minutes of the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting.