Investing.com - The dollar backed off session lows against the yen on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to enter talks on the Ukrainian crisis, but the greenback’s gains were capped following dovish remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
USD/JPY was last trading at 101.69, after falling as low as 101.43 earlier in the session.
Concerns over the crisis in Ukraine eased after President Putin called on separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone their referendum on independence, and added that Russia had withdrawn its forces from the border with Ukraine.
He also said that Russia will do "all it can" to resolve the crisis and will take a "most positive" approach to international peace efforts.
The dollar’s gains were checked after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said a high degree of monetary accommodation remains warranted given the slack in the economy, and added that while conditions in the U.S. labor market have improved, they are far from satisfactory.
Ms. Yellen also said the Fed expects economic growth to accelerate this year despite the slowdown in growth in the first quarter but warned that the recent housing market slowdown "could prove more protracted than currently expected."
Data last week showed that the U.S. economy expanded just 0.1% in the first three months of the year.
The comments came during testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.
EUR/USD was little changed at 1.3922, not far from not far from the eight-week peaks of 1.3950 struck on Wednesday.
The pound edged lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD dipping 0.07% to 1.6964, holding below the highs of 1.6993 reached on Tuesday, the highest level since August 2009.
The pound strengthened across the board on Tuesday after a forecast beating U.K. services PMI fuelled expectations for a rate hike by the Bank of England in the early part of next year.
Elsewhere, USD/CHF edged up 0.13% to 0.8753.
The New Zealand dollar remained sharply lower, with NZD/USD down 0.77% to 0.8672.
The drop in the kiwi came after central bank Governor Graeme Wheeler warned against the currency''s strength on Wednesday, saying "it would become more opportune for the Reserve Bank to intervene in the currency market to sell New Zealand dollars", in the face of worsening fundamentals.
The comments overshadowed data on Wednesday showing that the number of people employed in New Zealand rose more-than-forecast in the first three months of the year, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.0%.
USD/CAD edged up 0.10% to session highs of 1.0901 after data showed that the number of new building permits issued in Canada fell unexpectedly in March, dropping 3.0%.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar slipped lower, with AUD/USD down 0.16% to 0.9332.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was at 79.21, pulling away from the six-month trough of 79.09 reached on Tuesday.