FOREX-Dollar sluggish as traders bide time before Fed meeting; kiwi jumps

       * Market waiting for clues on taper timing from Fed
    * New Zealand dollar buoyed by faster-than-expected GDP
growth
    * Norway's crown at multi-month highs to dollar, euro as oil
soars

    By Kevin Buckland
    TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The dollar drifted near the
middle of its range of the past month versus major peers on
Thursday, as traders looked to next week's Federal Reserve
policy meeting for indications on how soon the U.S central bank
will start to taper stimulus.
    The New Zealand dollar jumped after the economy grew at a
much faster pace than expected, reinforcing the view that the
central bank will start lifting interest rates despite a recent
outbreak of the coronavirus.
    The kiwi was 0.23% higher at $0.7125, after briefly
surging as much as 0.47%.
    The dollar index, which measures the currency against
six rivals, was at 92.483, little changed from Wednesday.
    It reached a two-week high of 92.887 at the start of the
week, only to drop to a one-week low at 92.321 on Tuesday after
a softer-than-expected inflation report. Its low for the month
was 91.941, hit on Sept. 3, when payrolls data disappointed.
    "We're waiting for the FOMC next week - that remains the key
focus," said Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX strategist at Barclays
in Tokyo. "I don't think the dollar is going to go too far in
either direction (before that)."
    The Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day policy
meeting ending Sept. 22 should provide some clarity on the
outlook for both tapering and eventual interest rate hikes.
    Tapering typically lifts the dollar as it suggests the Fed
is one step closer to tighter monetary policy.
    It also means the central bank will be buying fewer debt
assets, in effect reducing the number of dollars in circulation
and increasing the currency's value.
    The dollar bought 109.33 yen, little changed from
Wednesday, when it slid to a six-week low of 109.110.
    The euro was flat at $1.1816, consolidating
between the month's high and low of $1.1909 and $1.17705.
    The yen's strong performance on Wednesday may have been
helped by foreign flows into Japanese stocks with the Nikkei
 reaching a multi-decade high this week, as well as
covering of short positions, Kadota said.

    NORWAY'S CROWN
    Elsewhere, Norway's crown rose slightly to 8.5710 per
dollar, edging back toward the more than two-month high of
8.5598 reached overnight amid a rally in oil prices.
    Against the euro, the crown touched the strongest
since June 25 at 10.1119.
    "EURNOK is one of the preferred exposures to play a rising
crude price, and we're seeing a solid bearish trend here," Chris
Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne,
wrote in a note to clients.
    "If Brent and WTI crude are headed for their respective
double tops then EURNOK is going one way in my view."
    The Australian dollar was little changed at
$0.7335.
    The country's jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 4.5%, but
the statistics bureau said the change reflected a drop in the
participation rate rather than a strengthening of the labour
market.


========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 0140 GMT
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change
                                              Session
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1816        $1.1816     +0.02%         -3.28%      +1.1820     +1.1816
 Dollar/Yen                   109.3250       109.3500    -0.02%         +5.84%      +109.4550   +109.3200
 Euro/Yen         Dollar/Swiss                 0.9199         0.9197      +0.03%         +3.98%      +0.9201     +0.9196
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3843         1.3843      +0.01%         +1.34%      +1.3852     +1.3843
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2630         1.2624      +0.06%         -0.81%      +1.2632     +1.2618
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7338         0.7334      +0.07%         -4.60%      +0.7345     +0.7335
 NZ                           0.7126         0.7110      +0.27%         -0.72%      +0.7140     +0.7109
 Dollar/Dollar


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 (Reporting by Kevin Buckland)

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