TOKYO - The dollar edged up on Wednesday, moving off lows touched against the yen overnight, as markets looked to a gathering of global central bankers in Wyoming for clues on whether the Federal Reserve is poised to hike interest rates again.
Data on Tuesday showed new U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly rose in July, reaching their highest level in nearly nine years as demand increased broadly, brightening the housing market outlook.
Central banks will gather in the mountain resort of Jackson Hole later this week, with markets focused on a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday.
Recent hawkish comments from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and New York Fed President William Dudley have raised some investors' expectations that Yellen might also take a less cautious tone.
The dollar inched 0.2 percent higher to 100.45 yen <JPY> after nudging below 100 yen overnight to 99.925. The pair has been mired in a narrow 99.55-102.83 range this month amid a dearth of directional cues, with liquidity low as many market participants take summer holidays.
"My forecast for the next few months is around the current range, because investors are worried about economic uncertainties, and the U.S. election is coming soon" in November, said Harumi Taguchi, principal economist at IHS Markit in Tokyo.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1 percent at 94.650 <DXY>.
News that North Korea fired a submarine-launched missile had little impact on foreign exchange trading. The missile flew about 300 miles (480 km) before splashing into the Sea of Japan, a U.S. defense official said.
"It could have been an excuse for some people to trade, but it wasn't a major factor," said Mitsuo Imaizumi, chief currency strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Instead, markets are waiting for Jackson Hole for any fresh signals on the U.S. monetary policy outlook.
"The number two and number three officials have spoken. Will what she says be different?" Imaizumi said, referring to Yellen.
Minutes from the Fed's July 26-27 policy meeting showed officials were divided over whether to raise rates soon, with some insisting that more solid economic data were needed before any tightening.
The euro was down 0.1 percent against the greenback at $1.1294 <EUR>, though it crept 0.1 percent higher against the yen to 113.43 <EURJPY>.
Data on Tuesday showed that surprisingly strong growth in France supported stable euro zone private business activity during August, underpinning the euro.
Sterling slipped 0.2 percent to $1.3172 <GBP> after it touched a three-week high of $1.3210 overnight after manufacturing exports data suggested that Britain's economy is holding up surprisingly well in the aftermath of its vote to exit the European Union.
(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill)