Dollar gains on IMF forecasts, Fed tapering anticipation

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Investing.com - The greenback traded largely higher against most major currencies on Wednesday in a session void of major economic indicators that also saw investors betting the Federal Reserve will make fresh cuts to its stimulus programs at a policy meeting next week.

U.S. trading on Tuesday, EUR/USD was down 0.09% at 1.3549.

The dollar held stable as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting next week.

Many were betting the U.S. central bank will trim USD10 billion from its monthly bond-buying stimulus program and take it down to USD65 billion a month, which bolstered the greenback.

The asset-purchasing program, which began in 2012 at USD85 billion, aims to spur recovery by keeping long-term interest rates low, which weakens the dollar as a side effect and sends investors chasing stocks.

Investors were also hoping Thursday's data on weekly jobless claims will come in solid and convince the Federal Reserve the U.S. economy is in less need of monetary stimulus tools.

The greenback was down against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.62% at 1.6579.

The pound found support after the Office for National Statistics said that the rate of unemployment in the U.K. fell to 7.1% in the three months to November, just above the 7% level the Bank of England sees as a threshold for considering raising interest rates from their current record low of 0.5%.

It was the largest drop in unemployment since 1997 the ONS said.

Analysts had expected the jobless rate to fall to 7.3% from 7.4% in the three months to October.

The ONS said the number of people claiming jobless benefits fell by 24,000 in December, compared to expectations for a decline of 35,000.

The average earnings index rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.9% in November, compared to expectations for a 1% increase, after rising by 0.9% in the previous month.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.11% at 104.41, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.12% at 0.9113.

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.97% at 1.1075, AUD/USD up 0.55% at 0.8854 and NZD/USD down 0.07% at 0.8310.

The BoC maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1%, which came as no real surprise to the markets.

However, the central bank said Canadian inflation has fallen further below its 2% target and added monetary authorities expect inflation to remain well below target for some time.

Canadian economic growth improved in the second half of 2013, the BoC added, pointing out that stronger demand from the U.S. and the recent depreciation of the Canadian dollar was expected to help bolster exports going into this year.

Elsewhere, Australian consumer prices rose 0.8% in the three months to December and were up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis, beating market expectations for a 0.5% quarterly increase and an annual gain of 2.5%.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.08% at 81.27.

Aside from weekly jobless claims, the U.S. is to release a private-sector report on existing home sales on Thursday.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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