Euro hovers near $1.50

LONDON: The European single currency hovered close to 1.50 dollars on Wednesday as investors waited for a US Federal Reserve report for clues on the outlook for the world's biggest economy, traders said.

In London morning deals, the euro edged up to 1.4940 dollars, from 1.4937 dollars late in New York on Tuesday, when it had touched 1.4994 -- the highest level since August 2008.

Against the Japanese currency on Wednesday, the dollar firmed to 90.82 yen from 90.72 yen late on Tuesday.

"The market is just waiting for the Beige Book," the report to be released later Wednesday by the Federal Reserve, said Shigeru Nakane, foreign exchange sales manager at Resona Bank.

He said market players were "looking for a trading peg" from the Beige Book, which is based on economic reports from the Fed's 12 districts and used for its policy making.

The dollar may rise briefly later in the day as Japanese fund players are expected to launch their buying for new trust funds, dealers said.

On the company earnings radar, traders will absorb the latest results from US banking groups Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

The dollar saw modest gains Tuesday following disappointing US economic data, which pushed stock markets into reverse after recent gains and prompted flows into currencies regarded as safe havens, such as the greenback.

Dealers are meanwhile betting on the euro breaking above the psychologically important 1.50-dollar line in the coming days.

"Players are hesitant about buying the euro aggressively due to European officials' complaints about a high euro," said Shinkin Central Bank dealer Shinichi Hayashi, cited by Dow Jones Newswires.

"But Europe's interest rates which are higher than those in the US will likely make players push the euro up eventually."

Elsewhere, the British pound rose against the dollar after news that Bank of England policymakers voted 9-0 to freeze its key lending rate at a record low 0.5 percent, according to minutes from their October meeting.

The BoE's Monetary Policy Committee was also unanimous in deciding to continue pumping out new money to combat a deep recession. The government had previously approved a limit of up to 175 billion pounds (194 billion euros, 289 billion dollars) of new cash.

The BoE is expected to reach this upper ceiling in the next month or so.

In London on Wednesday, the euro was changing hands at 1.4940 dollars against 1.4937 dollars late on Tuesday, at 135.76 yen (135.53), 0.9039 pounds (0.9121) and 1.5105 Swiss francs (1.5118).

The dollar stood at 90.82 yen (90.72) and 1.0105 Swiss francs (1.0118).

The pound was at 1.6541 dollars (1.6371).

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to 1,054.05 dollars an ounce from 1,061.75 dollars an ounce late on Tuesday.