Dollar falls below 110 yen, BOJ seen unlikely to intervene

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The U.S. dollar hit a fresh 17-month trough against the yen on Wednesday on doubts that the Bank of Japan would intervene to halt the yen's appreciation, while the euro inched lower against the dollar ahead of Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

The dollar fell below 110 yen for a second straight day and hit its lowest level since late October 2014, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Wall Street Journal that countries should avoid seeking to weaken their currencies with "arbitrary intervention."

The dollar last traded down 0.52 percent at the 109.74 yen level. The dollar has fallen more than 8 percent against the yen so far this year, partly on a more dovish Fed.

"The bar to (BOJ) intervention is pretty high," said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

Japan's chief government spokesman followed Abe's comments by saying that Tokyo was watching the currency market closely and would respond "as appropriate." But bankers believe Japan is hamstrung in what it can do in the run-up to G7 meetings in May.

Investors also digested minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policymaking meeting.

Fed policymakers debated last month whether an interest rate hike would be needed in April though a consensus emerged that risks from a global economic slowdown warranted a cautious approach.

"Many participants expressed a view that the global economic and financial situation still posed appreciable downside risks," according to the minutes from the Fed's March 15-16 policy meeting.

Policymakers had signaled at the close of that meeting that they expected to raise rates twice in 2016 but the timing of the hikes still appears up in the air.

The euro last traded up 0.18 percent at $1.1403. Against the Swiss franc, the dollar was last down 0.1 percent at 0.9557 franc.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last down 0.23 percent at 94.41.