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January 19 2018, 01:41 | Alonzo Simpson
US dollar surges after Fed policy statement
Meanwhile, eased up 0.09% to 1.2336, its highest since September 6.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.35 percent, with the telecommunications services sub-index falling 0.99 percent.
The Mexican currency was last up 0.5 percent at 17.71 peso per dollar following a 0.2 percent decline on Tuesday.
Unigestion investment manager Olivier Marciot, approved of the clarity in the Fed's meeting minutes: "As expected, the Fed left rates unchanged tonight but finally provided clearer details on how it will start unwinding its enormous balance sheet".
That said, the accompanying statement may offer the details of how the central bank plans to start shrinking its USD4.5 trillion balance sheet.
Also in focus will be the Federal Open Market Committee's dot plot, a chart showing Fed members' expectations about future interest rates.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference after the end of the meeting that the fall in inflation this year remained a mystery, adding that the central bank was ready to change the interest rate outlook if needed.
In a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting, central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the USA economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments.
The kiwi dollar was at 91.10 Australian cents from 91.25 cents.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.52 yen from 111.39 late Monday. Trump's administration said it would punish foreign companies dealing with the North, including by expanding the Treasury Department's ability to ban anyone from interacting with the US financial system.
CHINA RATING: Markets in Asia were getting their first chance to react to Standard & Poor's announcement late Thursday that it was downgrading China's credit rating, citing rising debt levels.
S&P 500 and Dow futures pointed to a fractionally higher start in NY as a small rise from London's FTSE helped Europe claw back to flat, having spent the morning in and out of the red. The Dow Jones industrials fell 0.2 percent to 22,359.23.
Toshiba retreated as its United States partner Western Digital vowed to block an $18-billion deal that will see the Japanese firm sell its key chip business to a consortium led by USA investor Bain Capital and including Apple and Dell. Toshiba indicated last week it had entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bain Capital, which backed a separate group bidding for the unit, over the sale.
The biggest percentage gain was the telecom services sector's.SPLRCL 2.3 percent jump on merger and acquisition speculation.
Falling metals and iron ore prices also pressured the Aussie, as well as comments on Thursday from the country's central bank governor that were less hawkish than some had anticipated.
It left interest rates on hold as had been widely expected.
On the energy front, oil prices rose after declining slightly overnight.
The dollar was 0.2 per cent higher at 112.430 yen after brushing 112.645, its highest since July 18.
Brent crude hovered at $55.50, not far from an nearly five-month high of $55.99 it had marked that day.