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FOREX-Dollar ticks up vs yen as Yellen stays course

Michael Connor
Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 | 10:30 AM ET

* Yellen testimony delivers no surprises

* Dollar gains after touching near two-week low

* Aussie dollar jumps

NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The dollar came off nearly two-week lows and rose moderately on Tuesday after new U.S. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen signaled there would no immediate deviation from the central bank's winding up of its massive bond purchases.

"The clear message here is that the bar to doing less tapering is very high," said Shaun Osborne, chief foreign exchange strategist at TD Securities in Toronto. "It was what we expected from Yellen, though there may have been some hope she might be more dovish."

In prepared remarks released ahead of her first appearance as Ben Bernanke's successor as Fed chair, Yellen said the U.S. labor market recovery was "far from complete" and said the Fed expects to continue trimming policy stimulus. She emphasized continuity.

After her comments were reported, the dollar jumped against the Japanese yen to as high as 102.68 yen from 102.33, but later fell back to 102.38, or up 0.1 percent for the day.

The U.S. currency trimmed losses against the euro, initially moving to $1.3662 from $1.3678 before Yellen's written testimony was released. Later it was at $1.3649.

The dollar index stood at 80.647 just before the Yellen news and traded at 80.641 in New York and was flat for the day after touching a low not seen since Jan. 29.

The Australian dollar rose to its highest point in almost a month, helped by an upbeat business survey and by buying from hedge funds, which have been betting against the Aussie for months and are now taking profits, traders said.

The Aussie dollar last traded up 0.7 percent at US$0.9010 .