The dollar fell to a seven-week low against major currencies on Wednesday, stung by steep losses against the yen and sterling, on concerns about the scope and timing of the Federal Reserve's eventual tapering of its bond-buying program. The yen rose to a seven-week peak against the dollar on expectations that Japanese investors would convert overseas earnings ahead of a mid-August holiday. The Bank of Japan concludes its two-day monetary policy meeting on Thursday.
The yen, which is valued as a safe-haven currency, made broad-based gains against major currencies as global stock markets fell. Japanese stocks dropped nearly 4 percent. The dollar came under pressure as a break of 97.50 yen sparked stop-loss dollar selling, which pushed it to a low of 96.41 yen, its lowest level since June 20. It was last trading down 1.4 percent at 96.41 yen.
Sterling climbed to a 1-1/2-month high against the greenback after investors brought forward expectations of when the Bank of England will raise interest rates from a record low after a news conference by the central bank's head. The pound rose 0.9 percent against the dollar, to $1.5487, recovering from an intraday low of $1.5205 plumbed shortly after the BOE's inflation report on Tuesday, which tied future rate rises to a drop in unemployment.
The euro was down 1.2 percent against the yen at 128.53 yen. Against the dollar, it was up 0.2 percent at $1.3333.