- The New Zealand dollar was flat after fourth quarter trade data came largely in line with expectations on Wednesday and the yen also held steady ahead of trade data from Tokyo.

NZD/USD traded at 0.8617, up 0.01%, after New Zealand''s fourth quarter current account balance narrowed to a deficit of NZ$1.43 billion, from a deficit of NZ$4.88 billion and slightly above an expected NZ$1.41 billion, reflecting strong goods and services trade.

Australia''s Westpac-MI March leading index is expected also due shortly with the figure the falling 0.2% in February.

In Japan, February trade data is due today at 0850 Tokyo (2350 GMT) with a trade deficit of ¥590 billion expected, from ¥2.79 trillion in January. Ahead of the data, USD/JPY traded at 101.4, down 0.01%.

At 1030 (0130 GMT), Bank of Japan board member Takahide Kiuchi is due speak to business leaders in western Japan and BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is also due to join a Tokyo panel discussion from 1400 to 1715 (0500-0815 GMT).

Overnight, the dollar traded mixed to higher against most major currencies on Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin assured the world Moscow is not out to annex Ukraine, while expectations for the Federal Reserve to trim its monthly bond-buying program offset hit-or-miss U.S. housing indicators.

Gold, which trades inversely with the dollar, has been a safe-haven asset class of choice during the crisis, and Putin''s calming words enticed investors out of the yellow metal and back into greenback positions a day ahead of the Federal Reserve''s March statement on monetary policy.

Elsewhere, The Labor Department on Tuesday reported that the U.S. consumer price index slowed to 1.1% in February from 1.6% in January. Analysts had expected the annual inflation rate to decline to 1.2%.

Month-on-month, U.S. consumer prices rose 0.1% in February, in line with forecasts.

Core inflation rates, which are stripped of volatile food and energy prices, rose 1.6% on year and 0.1% month-on-month, both figures in line with market forecasts.

The Federal Reserve plays close attention to core inflation rates when deciding on monetary policy.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported that the number of building permits issued in the U.S. rose to a four-month high in February, rebounding after a sharp drop in January.

The number of building permits issued last month jumped 7.7% to 1.018 million units, beating market calls for a 1.6% increase..

U.S. housing starts, however, fell 0.2% last month to hit a seasonally adjusted 907,000 units, disappointing expectations for an increase of 3.4% to 910,000 units.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.01% at 79.51.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is to announce its decision on interest rates and monetary policy followed by a press conference with Janet Yellen, her first as head of the monetary authority.

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