* Asia in risk-averse mode; trade thinned by Tokyo holiday
* Euro/dollar falls to $1.1710, dollar index near month high
* Week packed with central bank meetings, focus on Fed
SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The dollar rallied to a
month-high in Asia on Monday as looming catastrophe at indebted
developer China Evergrande added extra nerves to a cautious
mood, with investors bracing for the Federal Reserve to take
another step towards tapering this week.
In trade thinned by holidays in Japan, China and South
Korea, the euro fell 0.1% to $1.1710, its lowest since
The Australian dollar fell 0.5% to a three-week low
of $0.7227 while sterling and the kiwi also
hit multi-week troughs on the rising greenback. The dollar index
rose 0.1% to 93.356, its highest since Aug. 23.
"The U.S. dollar is having a bit of a rebound," said Westpac
analyst Imre Speizer, drawing support, he added, both from an
expectation of imminent asset purchase reductions from the Fed
and from caution as stock market selling gathers pace.
"Everyone is eying the Fed, waiting for a tapering signal."
The yen held its own, edging up 0.1% to 109.88 per
dollar, while equity markets dropped with concern that an
Evergrande collapse could trigger a broader crisis.
Evergrande, with $300 billion in debts, has a bond
interest payment of $83.5 million due on Thursday and said on
Sunday it begun repaying some investors with real estate,
sparking selling in other developers and its lenders.
The fear is that without a bailout, a messy collapse or
liquidation ripples through China's property sector at a time
when growth is already looking fragile.
Onshore Chinese markets were shut for the mid-Autumn break
but the offshore yuan fell through its 200-day moving
average to a three-week low of 6.4848 per dollar.
At 0330 GMT, sterling was down 0.1% at $1.3709 and the kiwi
down 0.14% at $0.7024. The dollar also made broad gains against
emerging markets' currencies and cryptocurrencies fell.
Ahead this week, no fewer than a dozen central banks hold
meetings, but traders' top focus is on the Fed where
expectations for a tapering signal are keeping the dollar bid.
The Fed concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday and
consensus is that it will stick with broad plans for tapering
this year but will hold off providing details or a timeline for
a at least a month.
Creeping U.S. yields, however, which at the 10-year tenor
rose for a fourth straight week last week, point to
risks of a hawkish surprise or a shift in projections to show
hikes as soon a 2022, both of which could support the dollar.
"What the dollar bulls will be looking for is for the dot
plot to show a 2022 lift-off," said analysts at OCBC Bank in
Singapore, something which would need only a change of mind from
two or three Fed members.
"This would represent an extension of the hawkish-Fed,
dollar-positive narrative that had ran slightly out of steam by
Among the other major central banks, the Bank of England is
expected to leave policy settings unchanged, but traders see
potential for gains in the pound if the bank adopts a hawkish
tone or more members call for asset purchase tapering.
There is no expectation of policy shifts at the resolutely
dovish Bank of Japan on Wednesday, but a day later Norway's
Norges Bank is expected to become the first G10 central bank to
The Norwegian crown slipped with oil and the rising
dollar on Monday to a three-week low of 8.7499 per dollar.
The oil-sensitive Canadian dollar was also on the
back foot ahead of an election on Monday where polling points to
an advantage for incumbent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but a
likelihood he remains leader of a minority government.
It hit a one-month low of C$1.2801 per dollar.
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Sam Holmes)