US dollar holds up in Asia on rate expectations

TOKYO (AFP) - The US dollar held steady in slow Asian trade on Monday, underpinned by expectations that US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates before other central banks.

The greenback was at 119.39 yen in Tokyo, compared with 119.43 yen in New York on Friday.

The euro bought US$1.2244 and 146.22 yen against US$1.2227 and 146.06 yen in US trade.

"US dollar strength remains a key theme, with broad gains against most currencies," National Australia Bank said in a note.

Wrapping up a policy meeting last week the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates low and said it would be "patient in beginning to normalise the stance of monetary policy".

While the Fed did not accelerate its timeline for raising interest rates, currency traders are betting the US will start tightening its credit grip more quickly than other major central banks, which would tend to boost demand for the dollar.

Tokyo markets will be closed Tuesday for a national holiday.

The Russian ruble, which dived to unprecedented levels of 80 to the dollar and 100 to the euro briefly last week, appears to have stabilised.

The dollar bought 58.72 rubles while the euro fetched 72.21 rubles on Monday.