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MW: Dollar extends rise, but Fed minutes could dictate day’s tone
 
The U.S. dollar rose against its major rivals on Wednesday, extending its recent uptrend as investors continued to scale up their timelines for when the Federal Reserve could next raise interest rates.

Trading could be quiet ahead of the Fed’s minutes from its most recent meeting, which will be released Wednesday afternoon. The minutes will be closely scoured for any clarity into the timing of U.S. central bank’s next policy move.

The WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, +0.04% a measure of the U.S. dollar against 16 major currencies, was up 0.1% at 91.34 but had dipped as low as 91.12 earlier in the session. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.19% , which gauges the buck against six rivals, rose 0.2% to 101.57.

The index has been stronger of late, having risen 0.6% thus far this week and 2% for the month of February.


On Tuesday, the index closed at its highest since January 12 after Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he would likely support an interest-rate increase at the central bank’s next meeting in March if the data supported such a move. He said he wouldn’t take a March increase “off the table.” Previously, investors had considered a March increase unlikely.

“We expect the minutes to reiterate the hawkish, neutral tones that [Fed Chairwoman Janet] Yellen hinted at last week, which should be fairly positive for the dollar overall,” said Viraj Patel, a foreign-exchange strategist at ING. “Right now we see a 50-50 chance of a March rate hike, which is greater than the overall market’s expectations. Between that and other dollar-positive stories in the pipeline, we see more upside risk than downside risk at current levels.”

Much of the dollar’s recent strength has been tied to the election of Donald Trump. Investors expect his policies on taxes and spending will both accelerate economic growth and stoke inflation. Patel said that a tax reform plan could be “a game changer for the dollar, and one that hasn’t been discounted by markets.”

However, the buck’s gain has shown signs of stalling, with the index down 0.6% year-to-date.

Against its Japanese counterpart, the U.S. currency USDJPY, -0.47% was changing hands at ¥113.15, compared with ¥113.57 late Tuesday in New York, a move of 0.4%.

The euro EURUSD, -0.3417% was at $1.0509, compared with $1.0546 late Tuesday. The British pound GBPUSD, -0.1684% traded at $1.2458 from $1.2497.
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