Dollar rangebound ahead of speech by US central bank chief

TOKYO, Aug 31, 2007 (AFP) – The dollar was rangebound in cautious Asian trade Friday as investors waited for a speech by the US central bank chief after recent volatility over the housing sector, dealers said. The dollar inched up to 115.99 yen in Tokyo morning trade from 115.86 in New York late Thursday.

The euro edged up to 1.3665 dollars from 1.3628 and to 158.52 yen from 157.90.

Foreign exchange trading has been volatile over the last two weeks, closely following on the heels of Wall Street amid concerns over the US “subprime” sector of housing loans to customers with patchy credit histories.

Dealers were waiting for a speech by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, due later Friday at a central bank retreat in Wyoming, to hear his views on the subprime issue and if he promises further action to calm markets.

“Bernanke’s remarks are the focus for market players,” said Saburo Matsumoto, chief forex strategist at Sumitomo Trust Bank. “We are waiting for it for now.”

Japan saw a flurry of economic data in the morning, but the investors hardly responded to the inflation and jobless figures which turned out to be in line with expectations, dealers said.

“The focus of the market s