(Reuters) - A softer stance from the Federal Reserves knocked the dollar down on Thursday but failed to lift stock markets in Europe, where the looming deadline for Greece to get a new debt deal kept investors nervous.
In contrast, Japan's shares hit a 15-year high as the minutes from the Fed's meeting in January showed officials were concerned about hiking interest rates too soon. Export data also showed the weaker yen was helping the economy.
Investors revised their expectations for the timing of a first Fed hike and the trajectory of rates for the next couple of years. The dollar fell about 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies.
"Is this the U.S. joining in the currency wars?" said Marshall Gittler, head of global FX strategy at IronFX.
In Europe, whose barely growing economy could benefit from a weaker currency, the euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.1412 and the broader FTSEurofirst 300 index slipped 0.3 percent to 1,511.18 points.
The retreat from seven-year highs was accelerated by a slide in oil prices on expectations U.S. inventories would reach record highs and a possible increase in Saudi output stoked new worries about oversupply. Brent crude futures for April fell below $60 a barrel, trading at $59.32 a barrel, down $1.21.
Concerns about Greece, the country at the heart of the eurozone debt crisis for the past five years, also weighed. Athens is expected to seek an extension to its loan agreement with the eurozone, without which it could run out of cash in weeks. Eurozone officials said Athens had to agree to a deal by Friday.
The European Central Bank did agree on Wednesday to raise to 68.3 billion euros (US$78 billion)a cap on funding available under its Emergency Liquidity Assistance scheme, a person familiar with the ECB talks said. That was an increase of 3.3 billion euros, less than Athens had requested.
The Greek uncertainty saw lower-rated eurozone debt underperform benchmark German Bunds, whose yields dropped 2 basis points to 0.36 percent. Italian and Spanish 10-year yields were unchanged at 1.63 percent and 1.59 percent, respectively. Portuguese equivalents dipped 1 bp to 2.32 percent.
"Although it is slightly more probable that the Greek side will ultimately climb down ... there is still an undiminished risk of political miscalculation," said DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz.
Ten-year U.S. T-note yields were down 2 basis points at 2.05 percent.