TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - The dollar was steady against a handful of peers on Wednesday, as the market assessed calls for patience from Federal Reserve officials and awaited the publication of Fed minutes for more insight on the central bank's path.

Meanwhile, the kiwi inched up as traders awaited the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy decision.

With little to drive the market in terms of economic data this week, major currencies continued to move in a tight range.

Investors have been shoring up rate cut bets after a milder inflation reading last week boosted expectations for U.S. rate cuts this year.

Following a slew of Fed officials striking a cautious note, markets had about 43 basis points (bps) of easing priced in versus last week's high of 52 bps.

Fed Governor Christopher Waller said overnight that he would need to see several more months of good inflation data before he would be comfortable supporting an easing in the stance of monetary policy.

That timeline was echoed by Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester.

Still, Waller's comments gave the market little new to go on, said Kyle Rodda, senior financial market analyst at

"He basically told us that if inflation comes down, the Fed will cut... One implies the other and doesn't say anything about whether inflation and rates will come down."

While markets remain hopeful that U.S. inflation will continue to slow down, PCE data due on May 31 will be a crucial test for confirming those expectations, he added.

The dollar index was firm at 104.61 against a basket of currencies, after popping up briefly to 104.76 overnight.

Ahead of next week's data, the market will get minutes of the Fed's April 30-May 1 monetary policy meeting, which investors will scrutinise for further clarity on the central bank's thinking.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in his press briefing after the Fed held rates steady at that meeting, ruled out rate hikes.

The euro was up 0.04% at $1.0858, with focus on Thursday's data from the European Central Bank negotiated wage tracker and the euro zone Purchasing Managers' Index.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2713, up 0.05% on the day and not far off a two-month high touched on Tuesday as the market awaited a key UK inflation report due later in the day.

Economists polled by Reuters say the data will probably show headline inflation slowed sharply to 2.1% in April, although the Bank of England (BOE) thinks it will speed up again to around 2.6% later this year.

Markets are pricing in 53 bps of cuts from the BOE this year.

Against the yen, the dollar was flat at 156.20, as traders took a breather from testing the currency pair.

Fears of currency intervention by Tokyo still had traders on alert after suspected rounds of intervention earlier this month.

The yen was unchanged after data showed Japan's exports rose 8.3% in April from a year earlier.

During Asian trading, the RBNZ is expected to leave its benchmark cash rate at 5.5%, with focus instead on whether it will change the projected outlook for rates out to next year.

The New Zealand dollar NZD=D3 rose 0.12% versus the greenback at $0.610.

The Australian dollar was up 0.05% at $0.6670.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin last rose 0.71% to $70,207.54.

Ether last rose 1.32% to $3,795.00, not far from its highest level since mid-March.

Cryptocurrencies surged earlier this week on speculation about the outcome of applications for U.S. spot exchange-traded funds that would track the world's second-biggest cryptocurrency.

(Reporting by Brigid Riley; Editing by Christopher Cushing)