Dollar remains broadly higher after Fed tapering decision


Shutterstock photo - The dollar remained broadly higher against the other major currencies on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced plans to start winding back economic stimulus from next month.

USD/JPY was down 0.10% to 104.18 during U.S. morning trade, after rising as high as 104.35 earlier, the highest level since October 2008.

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would reduce its USD85 billion-a-month bond buying program by USD10 billion in January. In his last press conference as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy was continuing to make progress.

The U.S. central bank reiterated that interest rates are likely to remain low even after the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%, the threshold at which the Fed has previously said it would start to consider rate increases.

The euro was trading close to two week lows against the dollar, with EUR/USD falling to lows of 1.3650, the weakest since December 6. The pair was last down 0.17% to 1.3662.

Data on Thursday showed that U.S. existing home sales fell to an almost one year low in November, while a separate report showed that U.S. jobless claims rose to the highest level since March.

The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously owned homes fell 4.3% last month to an annual rate of 4.90 million units, the third successive monthly decline.

Meanwhile, the number of people claiming unemployment assistance in the week ending December 14 increased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 379,000 the Labor Department said.

Analysts had expected U.S. jobless claims to fall by 35,000 to 334,000 last week from the previous week's revised total of 369,000.

The pound was fractionally lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD dipping 0.07% to 1.6377.

Sterling showed little reaction after official data on Thursday showed that U.K. retail sales increased by 0.3% last month and were 2% higher on a year-over-year basis. Economists had forecast a monthly gain of 0.3% and an annual increase of 2.3%.

Demand for the pound continued to be underpinned after data on Wednesday showed that the U.K. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to a four-and-a-half year low in the three months to October, fuelling hopes that the Bank of England will raise interest rates ahead of other central banks.

The dollar pushed higher against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.31% to 0.8966.

The greenback was trading near three-and-a-half year highs against the Australian dollar, with AUD/USD dipping 0.06% to 0.8855.

The U.S. dollar was mixed against its New Zealand and Canadian counterparts, with NZD/USD dropping 0.82% to 0.8169 and USD/CAD slipping 0.14% to 1.0680.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.17% to 80.76. 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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