The US dollar is closing in on a five-year high versus the yen, with gold heading towards a one-year low, ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's historic December meeting.
Minutes of the Fed's last meeting, due to be released later today, are expected to provide more details about its plans to scale back its QE programme as of this month.
The dollar rose 0.3% to 104.96 yen this morning, having climbed to 105.44 a week ago, its highest level since October 2008.
Investor faith in the greenback was given another boost yesterday when San Francisco Fed president John Williams said the central bank could end its bond-purchase programme entirely this year.
Meanwhile gold fell back 0.4% to $1,226 as dollar strength continued to weigh on the precious metal.
Elsewhere, UK equities continued their mediocre start to the year as the FTSE 100 dropped 0.4% to 6,727.
Sainsbury's - which saw shares fall 2% despite beating expectations for Christmas trading - was among the companies weighing on the index.
European shares were also weaker as investors waited for the Fed minutes, with Germany's Dax off 0.3%.
The losses came despite a strong session for the US yesterday and some impressive gains in Asia. The Nikkei reversed this week's earlier falls to close up 1.9%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished the session 1.3% ahead.
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