Dollar jumps up on hawkish Fed minutes

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Investing.com - The dollar traded higher against most major currencies on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve revealed in its July policy meeting minutes that rate hikes could come sooner rather than later if the labor market continues to improve.

In U.S. trading on Wednesday, EUR/USD was down 0.44% at 1.3262.

The Federal Reserve voted at its July 29-30 meeting to leave benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.00-0.25% and added it would cut its monthly bond-buying program to $25 billion from $35 billion at its July 29-30 meeting.

The Fed said that the overall economy is improving, though slackness remains in the labor market despite growth, which prompted monetary authorities to continue tapering its asset-purchasing program by only $10 billion per policy meeting.

The Fed's stimulus bond-buying program is seen concluding around October, and rate hikes are expected in 2015, though the timing of the latter remains up in the air.

The minutes from that meeting released earlier revealed that while some monetary authorities favored studying more data before deciding, others felt action should come sooner rather than later.

"Many participants noted that if convergence toward the Committee's objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated," the minutes released earlier Wednesday read.

"Indeed, some participants viewed the actual and expected progress toward the Committee's goals as sufficient to call for a relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation to avoid overshooting the Committee's unemployment and inflation objectives over the medium term," the minutes added.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that the U.S. economy is improving though monetary authorities continue to note slackness in the labor market, though the minutes revealed some monetary authorities feel that slackness may be absorbed in the near future.

"Many members noted, however, that the characterization of labor market underutilization might have to change before long, particularly if progress in the labor market continued to be faster than anticipated."

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.79% at 103.73, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.45% at 0.9134.

The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.11% at 1.6598.

Sterling saw some support after the minutes of the Bank of England's August meeting released earlier revealed that some U.K. monetary authorities favored raising interest rates at its last meeting.

Ian McCafferty and Martin Weale voted to raise the bank rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%, while the remaining seven Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members voted to keep monetary policy unchanged.

It was the first time that the MPC has been split over interest rates since 2011.

The minutes revived expectations that the BoE could hike rates in the coming months as the economic recovery in the U.K. continues gain momentum.

The dollar was up against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.27% at 1.0971, AUD/USD down 0.19% at 0.9284 and NZD/USD down 0.61% at 0.8367.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.48% at 82.33.

On Thursday, the U.S. is to produce data on unemployment claims, manufacturing activity and existing home sales.

The first day of the annual economic symposium is due to take place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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