Dollar off highs but holds to gains on Yellen speech


Shutterstock photo - - The rose against most major currencies on Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's noted improvements taking place in the labor market , though profit taking trimmed the greenback's gains.

In U.S. trading on Friday, EUR/USD was down 0.21% at 1.3252.

Speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Jackson Hole symposium, Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy is recovering and added the labor market is improving as well.

"More jobs have now been created in the recovery than were lost in the downturn, with payroll employment in May of this year finally exceeding the previous peak in January 2008. Job gains in 2014 have averaged 230,000 a month, up from the 190,000 a month pace during the preceding two years," Yellen said in prepared remarks of her speech.

"The unemployment rate, at 6.2 percent in July, has declined nearly 4 percentage points from its late 2009 peak. Over the past year, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably, and at a surprisingly rapid pace."

Yellen's comments sparked a rally earlier for the dollar, though profit taking kicked in after markets concluded that the Fed will still take its time raising interest rates to avoid disrupting recovery.

"Underutilization of labor resources still remains significant," Yellen said.

"Given this assessment and the Committee's expectation that inflation will gradually move up toward its longer-run objective, the Committee reaffirmed its view 'that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after our current asset purchase program ends, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.'"

Geopolitical concerns also sparked profit taking and sent investors to gold.

Ukraine declared on Friday that Russia had launched a "direct invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.07% at 103.92, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.23% at 0.9135.

The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.02% at 1.6577.

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.02% at 1.0943, AUD/USD up 0.15% at 0.9316 and NZD/USD down 0.05% at 0.8402.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.19% at 82.37. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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