Thursday, March 24, 2016

Forex - Dollar at 1-week highs on Fed rate hike talk

Investing.com - Investing.com - The dollar rose to one-week highs against a basket of the other major currencies on Thursday as hawkish comments by Federal Reserve officials raised the prospects that the central bank could act soon to raise interest rates.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.2% at 95.25.

Demand for the dollar continued to be underpinned after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Wednesday that policymakers should consider a rate hike at their next meeting in April.

Bullard's comments follow a string of hawkish comments by other Federal Reserve officials earlier in the week.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said that there is a strong case to continue to raise interest rates and added that he would like to see three rate hikes before the years end.

Separately, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he expects two more rate hikes this year, if the economy remains on track.

Higher interest rates would boost the dollar by making it more attractive to yield seeking investors.

The dollar has regained ground this week after last week's selloff when the Fed lowered its outlook for interest rate increases by the end of this year to two from four and said the U.S. economy faces risks from an uncertain global economy.

Investors were looking ahead to U.S. economic reports on jobless claims and durable goods later in the day for fresh indications on the strength of the economy.

The euro edged down to fresh one-week lows, with EUR/USD easing 0.13% to 1.1167.

The dollar strengthened against the yen, with USD/JPY climbing 0.45% to 112.88.

The pound also remained on the back foot amid uncertainty over Britain's future in the European Union ahead of the June 23 referendum, with GBP/USD down 0.38% at 1.4065.

The pound fell to 15-month lows against the euro, with EUR/GBP up 0.24% to 0.7940.

Sterling came under additional selling pressure amid fears that a series of bomb attacks Brussels on Tuesday could bolster the case for Brexit.

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