FOREX-U.S. dollar little changed as investors await Fed meeting outcome


    * Fed seen keeping monetary policy stance
    * U.S. retail sales fall unexpectedly in February
    * Euro falls vs dollar, yen rises
    * Aussie and Kiwi dollars slip
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

 (Adds new comment, FX table, U.S. data, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - The dollar was little changed to slightly higher on Tuesday in choppy
trading, with currencies generally lacking direction as market participants awaited the outcome of a Federal
Reserve meeting for clues as to where U.S. interest rates are headed.
    The greenback overall posted gains against the euro and commodity currencies such as the Australian and
New Zealand dollars.
    At the Fed's two-day monetary policy meeting, policymakers are expected to forecast that the U.S.
economy will grow in 2021 at its fastest rate in decades, with unemployment falling and inflation rising,
but they are unlikely to change their monetary policy.
    "The Fed will likely maintain its stance because there is clearly no sign of outrageous inflationary
growth and equities seem fine after last week's concern with yields," said Juan Perez, FX strategist and
trader at Tempus Inc in Washington.
    "U.S. producer prices, consumer prices, and even retail sales from this morning show that we have a long
way to go before tightening any conditions," he added.
    Tuesday's data showed U.S. retail sales dropped by a seasonally adjusted 3.0% last month due in part to
harsh weather in February. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail
sales decreased 3.5% last month after surging by an upwardly revised 8.7% in January.
    In midmorning trading, the dollar index was up 0.1% at 91.902. It has gained for a third straight
session.
    Investors will also pore over whatever the Fed has to say about the rise in yields, which have gained on
bets that economic growth and inflation could prompt a faster-than-expected normalization of monetary
policy.
    "Anything less than a strong message of the Fed being very committed to maintaining favourable financial
market conditions will likely see USD advance further," MUFG FX strategists wrote in a weekly note on
Friday.
    U.S. Treasury yields were down overall, with the benchmark 10-year note at 1.589%. 
    The euro was down 0.2% at $1.1906.
    It has held below $1.20 since March 5, hurt by expectations for a slower economic recovery in Europe
compared with the UK and the United States due to problems rolling out coronavirus vaccines.
    Germany, France and Italy said on Monday they would suspend AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots after several
countries reported possible serious side effects, but the World Health Organization said there was no proven
link and people should not panic.
    The Australian dollar - which is seen as a barometer for risk appetite - was down 0.2% at US$0.7742
. The New Zealand dollar also slipped, down 0.1% at US$0.7191.
    Britain's pound was little changed at $1.3891. Economic growth in the UK will fall by 4% in the
first quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter of 2020, the governor of the Bank of England said.

    The dollar fell 0.3% against the yen to 108.79 ahead of the Bank of Japan's two-day policy
meeting, which ends on Friday. The central bank's governor said on Tuesday it was important to keep
long-term interest rates "stably low".
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 10:16AM (1416 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct       High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                   
                                              Session                                             
 Dollar index                 91.8620        91.8220     +0.06%         2.090%        +91.9740    +91.6770
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1907        $1.1929     -0.19%         -2.55%        +$1.1952    +$1.1897
 Dollar/Yen                   108.8300       109.1200    -0.25%         +5.38%        +109.2800   +108.8100
 Euro/Yen                     129.57         130.16      -0.45%         +2.09%        +130.3900   +129.5000
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9259         0.9275      -0.15%         +4.69%        +0.9287     +0.9244
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3888        $1.3900     -0.08%         +1.66%        +$1.3903    +$1.3809
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2470         1.2473      -0.02%         -2.07%        +1.2500     +1.2460
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7743        $0.7756     -0.17%         +0.65%        +$0.7756    +$0.7711
 Euro/Swiss                   1.1025         1.1064      -0.35%         +2.02%        +1.1076     +1.1020
 Euro/Sterling                0.8573         0.8582      -0.10%         -4.07%        +0.8640     +0.8571
 NZ                           $0.7189        $0.7200     -0.11%         +0.15%        +$0.7205    +$0.7168
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                    
 Dollar/Norway                8.4770         8.4675      +0.20%         -1.19%        +8.4855     +8.4420
 Euro/Norway                  10.0940        10.0810     +0.13%         -3.56%        +10.1158    +10.0747
 Dollar/Sweden                8.5256         8.5125      +0.06%         +4.02%        +8.5332     +8.4805
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1525        10.1461     +0.06%         +0.76%        +10.1733    +10.1300
 
    
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting Elizabeth Howcroft in London; Editing by Larry
King, Steve Orlofsky and Jonathan Oatis)
  

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