FOREX-Dollar slides against yen on U.S. political concerns

* Yen hits highest level since early March

* Focus turning to Fed meeting next week

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

(Adds comment, FX table, updates prices in text, changes byline, dateline; previous LONDON) NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell to a more than one-week low against the yen on Friday, undermined by speculation that more top Trump administration officials could be replaced and concerns U.S. trade tariffs could hurt the global economy. These U.S.-centric factors have rattled markets in recent days, pushing the dollar lower and leaving the yen as the main beneficiary. U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to replace his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. At the same time, the New York Times reported U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena for documents related to Trump's businesses, including some concerning Russia. Earlier this week, the U.S. currency took a hit after Trump dismissed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as investors grew increasingly nervous about the direction U.S. policy might now take following a series of departures by key members of staff. "There is a whiff of risk aversion about the markets," said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. "The reason for the caution in markets centers on the U.S. amid reports of yet more changes in senior White House personnel The focal point of speculation now is the head of the National Security Council." Commerzbank said the yen also was boosted by domestic factors, particularly confusion about when and how the Bank of Japan could start to ease record levels of monetary stimulus as it tries to lift inflation. Analysts at the bank said the BoJ was "sounding indefinably hawkish." Thu Lan Nguyen, a currency strategist at Commerzbank, said international concerns around U.S. politics and trade tariffs provided an "extra argument" for yen bulls, given the currency tends to do well in times of market uncertainty. The dollar was trading 0.3 percent lower at 106.04 yen after falling as low as 105.61 yen, the lowest level since March 7. The dollar index was little changed to slightly higher at 90.205. It has been on the defensive for much of the week amid the shake-up inside Trump's administration and as next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting comes into focus. The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.2282, with little in the way to drive the single currency It has struggled to make much headway since rallying in January and faced further headwinds after the European Central Bank last week cautioned investors not to expect a paring back of monetary stimulus any time soon.

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Currency bid prices at 9:54AM (1354 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid Previous Change

Session

Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.2283 $1.2304 -0.17% +2.40% +1.2336 +1.2280 Dollar/Yen JPY= 106.0200 106.3300 -0.29% -5.90% +106.3800 +105.6100 Euro/Yen EURJPY= 130.25 130.83 -0.44% -3.65% +130.9100 +130.1400 Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9515 0.9514 +0.01% -2.34% +0.9523 +0.9486 Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.3930 1.3936 -0.04% +3.09% +1.3979 +1.3913 Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3074 1.3052 +0.17% +3.98% +1.3095 +1.3045 Australian/Doll AUD= 0.7743 0.7798 -0.71% -0.74% +0.7804 +0.7745

ar

Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.1690 1.1705 -0.13% +0.01% +1.1712 +1.1689 Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.8815 0.8827 -0.14% -0.77% +0.8838 +0.8812 NZ Dollar/Dolar NZD= 0.7225 0.7276 -0.70% +1.96% +0.7282 +0.7226 Dollar/Norway NOK= 7.7220 7.7140 +0.10% -5.91% +7.7283 +7.6975 Euro/Norway EURNOK= 9.4862 9.4906 -0.05% -3.68% +9.5117 +9.4868 Dollar/Sweden SEK= 8.2004 8.1787 +0.09% -0.02% +8.2085 +8.1749 Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 10.0743 10.0648 +0.09% +2.38% +10.0936 +10.0620

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in London Editing by Paul Simao)