TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - The dollar was steady against a handful of peers on Wednesday as investors assessed calls for patience from Federal Reserve officials and awaited Fed meeting minutes for more insight on the central bank's rate path.

The kiwi alone stood out against the calm, leaping after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted its forecasts for peak interest rates at its latest monetary policy meeting.

With little else to drive the market in terms of economic data this week, major currencies continued to move in a tight range.

Investors have largely been shoring up U.S. rate cut bets after a milder inflation reading last week, even as Fed officials continued to sound a cautious note.

Fed Governor Christopher Waller said overnight that he would need to see several more months of good inflation data before he would be comfortable supporting rate cuts.

That timeline was echoed by Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester.

Markets now have about 43 basis points (bps) of easing priced in for this year versus last week's 52 bps.

Still, Waller's comments gave the market little new to go on, said Kyle Rodda, senior financial market analyst at

"He basically told us that if inflation comes down, the Fed will cut ... One implies the other and doesn't say anything about whether inflation and rates will come down."

While markets remain hopeful that U.S. inflation will continue to cool, PCE data due on May 31 will be a crucial test for confirming those expectations, he added.

The dollar index was mostly flat against a basket of currencies at 104.65, after popping up briefly to 104.76 overnight.

Ahead of next week's data, the market will get minutes of the Fed's April 30-May 1 monetary policy meeting, which market players will scrutinise for any "dovish or hawkish undertones masked by the consistency of Fedspeak," said Andy Ji, senior Asia FX analyst at InTouch Capital Markets.


The RBNZ added some action during Asian trading with a hawkish surprise.

While the central bank left its benchmark cash rate at 5.5% as expected, it lifted its forecasts for peak interest rates and pushed back when it expects cuts as inflation stays stubbornly high.

It now sees rates peaking at 5.7% at the end of 2024, compared with 5.6% three months ago.

The New Zealand dollar jumped as high as $0.6152 in response, its highest since March 14. It was last up 0.4% versus the greenback at $0.6117.

Elsewhere, sterling was last little changed at $1.2709, not far off a two-month high touched on Tuesday as the market awaited a key UK inflation report due later in the day.

Economists polled by Reuters say the data will probably show headline inflation slowed sharply to 2.1% in April, although the Bank of England (BOE) thinks it will speed up again to around 2.6% later this year.

Markets are pricing in 53 bps of cuts from the BOE this year.

The euro was steady at $1.0853.

Against the yen, the dollar edged up 0.1% to 156.35.

Fears of currency intervention by Tokyo still had traders on alert after suspected rounds of intervention earlier this month.

"While the suspected intervention failed to anchor USD/JPY at its lows it seems to have helped facilitate a more orderly ascent," said InTouch Capital Markets' Ji.

The yen was unchanged after data showed Japan's exports rose 8.3% in April from a year earlier.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin last fell 0.2% to $69,571.00.

Ether last rose 0.09% to $3,748.80 after hitting its highest level since mid-March on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Brigid Riley; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill)