Dollar falls on profit taking, though Fed rate hike concerns support

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Investing.com - The dollar moved lower against most major currencies due to profit taking on Friday, though ongoing expectations for the Federal Reserve to continue signaling when interest rates may rise trimmed earlier losses.

In U.S. trading on Friday, EUR/USD was up 0.14% at 1.3797.

The U.S. currency shot up this week after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested at a Wednesday press conference that interest rates could rise six months after the Fed's bond-buying program ends, which is widely seen taking place this fall.

Fed asset purchases, currently set at $55 billion a month, aim to stimulate the economy by suppressing interest rates, weakening the dollar as long as they remain in effect, and Yellen's comments left many expecting benchmark interest rates to begin rising around the first half of 2015.

Profit-taking sent the dollar falling on Friday.

However, giving the greenback some support were comments made by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who told reporters earlier that Yellen's six-month space between the end of bond purchases and tighter monetary policy matched private-sector expectations.

"On the 'considerable period' being six months, the surveys that I had seen from the private sector had that kind of number penciled in,'' St Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said during a lunch with journalists, according to Reuters.

"That wasn't very different from what we had heard from financial markets. So, I just think she's just repeating that.''

Elsewhere on Friday, Fitch Ratings affirmed U.S. long-term foreign and local currency credit ratings at AAA with a stable outlook, taking the country off negative ratings watch.

Meanwhile in Europe, data revealed that consumer confidence within the euro zone fell less than expected last month.

The European Commission reported earlier that its euro zone consumer confidence index fell to -9.3 in March from -12.7 in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected the index to fall -12.4 last month.

Separately, data revealed that the euro zone's current account surplus expanded unexpectedly in January.

The European Central Bank reported earlier that the euro zone current surplus account widened to €25.3 billion in January from €20.0 billion in December.

Analysts were expecting the current account surplus to narrow to €18.4B in January.

The dollar was down against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.26% at 102.13, and down against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF down 0.20% at 0.8820.

The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.05% at 1.6497.

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.30% at 1.1208, AUD/USD down 0.31% at 1.1207 and NZD/USD up 0.05% at 0.8538.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.14% at 80.23.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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