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Dollar edges up, investors cautious on outcome of BOJ, Fed meetings

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The dollar edged up against a basket of major currencies on Tuesday in light trading as investors retraced last week's moves ahead of policy meetings from the Bank of Japan and U.S. Federal Reserve.

Investors see little chance that the Fed raises U.S. short-term interest rates and expectations are also low that the BOJ will be able to weaken the yen meaningfully when both banks announce policy prescriptions on Wednesday. However, traders remained cautious on the outcome of the meetings.

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"To a large extent I think the market is just paring back its expectations," said Richard Cochinos, head of European G10 FX strategy at Citigroup in London.

"A week and a half ago consensus was dollar/yen higher on BOJ inaction. Now we're seeing a flattening of the risk profile as we go into the central bank meetings and traders are not trying to be too aggressive on one side or the other."

The yen rose 0.12 percent against the dollar to trade at 101.80 yen, having earlier touched a one-week high at 101.55 yen. The Japanese currency has risen almost 20 percent versus the dollar over the past 12 months despite the Japanese central bank's best efforts to weaken it.

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The dollar index rose 0.1 percent to 95.934, hovering just below the 96.108 mark touched on Friday that was the highest since Sept. 1. The dollar has fallen against the six major currencies that make up its basket in three of the past four sessions, but had its largest one-day percentage gain since late July on Friday.

Esther Reichelt, a currency strategist at Commerzbank Frankfurt, said she expected a quiet day, though thin trading could lead to some exaggerated moves not driven by fundamental factors.

"Everybody is just waiting for the BOJ and the Fed. Why do anything today?" she said. "Everyone has already positioned for these events and there is no new information that could give them a reason to reposition, so I expect a rather calm day."

The dollar got its biggest boost on Tuesday from selling of the British pound, which dipped 0.5 percent to its lowest against the greenback since Aug. 16 on worries about the political and economic risks from Britain's pending exit from the European Union.

The head of Germany's Bundesbank warned on Monday that banks based in Britain could lose "passporting" access to EU markets after Brexit.