FOREX-Dollar on defensive after Fed signals readiness to cut rates


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    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2019
    * Fed opens door to rate cut as early as July
    * Focus shifts to by how much the Fed could opt to cut in
    * BOJ, BeE policy decisions awaited

    By Shinichi Saoshiro
    TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - The dollar was on the defensive
on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signalled it was ready to
lower interest rates to combat growing global and domestic
    The Fed on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged as widely
expected but said the case for lower rates was building,
suggesting it could ease monetary policy as early as next month
as it took stock of rising trade tensions and growing concerns
about weak inflation.*:nW1N22I01T
    The dollar index  .DXY  against a basket of six major
currencies was little changed at 97.188 after losing more than
0.5% overnight.
    "Even though the market had anticipated much of what the Fed
said, the dollar's fall was still a relatively large one," said
Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank.
    "The main question is no longer if the Fed will cut rates in
July, but whether the easing will be by 25 or 50 basis points."
    With U.S. yields falling after the Fed meeting, the dollar
retreated against the yen. The two-year Treasury yield
 US2YT=RR  touched 1.737% on Wednesday, its lowest level since
November 2017.
    The greenback lost more than 0.3% to brush 107.720 yen
 JPY= , its lowest since Jan. 4, coming under further pressure
after Bloomberg reported that U.S. President Donald Trump
believes that he has the authority to replace Fed Chair Jerome
Powell and demote him to be a board governor.*:nFWN23Q0LT
    Immediate focus for the yen was on the Bank of Japan's
monetary policy decision due later on Thursday.
    The BOJ is expected to keep its ultra-loose monetary policy
unchanged but interest in markets will be on whether the Fed's
dovish tilt would have any bearing on its Japanese counterpart.*:nL4N23Q2HB
    The euro  EUR=  stretched overnight gains and advanced 0.2%
to $1.1248.
    The common currency has managed to bounce off a two-week low
of $1.1181 set earlier in the week after European Central Bank
President Mario Draghi's dovish comments sent German bund yields
to record lows.
    The pound was steady at $1.2652  GBP=D4  after gaining
roughly 0.7% overnight.
    Sterling was buoyant ahead of the Bank of England's policy
meeting later on Thursday, where the central bank may strike a
relatively more confident tone than its peers.  GBP/  
    In contrast with the general caution displayed by other
major global central banks, the BoE is expected to repeat its
intention of raising borrowing costs - Brexit permitting.*:nL4N23Q3EX
    The Australian dollar  AUD=D4  was a touch higher at $0.6885
following a modest gain of 0.1% on Wednesday.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
 ((; Reuters Messaging:

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