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Dollar edges higher vs. rivals ahead of Yellen speech

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Shutterstock photo - - The dollar edged higher against the other major currencies on Wednesday, as investors eyed a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen scheduled later in the day for further indications on a potential U.S. rate hike in the coming months.

The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.42% at 120.24.

Investors awaited comments by Fed Chair Janet Yellen due later in the day after mixed messages from several U.S. central bank policymakers last week led to uncertainty over whether the Fed will raise short term interest rates this year.

New York Fed President William Dudley and San Francisco Fed head John Williams indicated support for a rate hike in 2015 in separate speeches on Monday, but Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said rates should remain on hold until mid-2016.

The U.S. dollar remained supported after the Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence rose to an eight-year high of 103.0 this month from 101.3 in August.

The dollar was also higher against the euro, with EUR/USD shedding 0.34% to 1.1210.

The single currency came under pressure after Eurostat, the statistical body of the European Union, reported that the annual rate of inflation in the single currency bloc fell by 0.1% this month, compared to forecasts for a flat reading.

It was the first time in six months that the region saw declining inflation.

Another report showed that the euro zone unemployment rate remained unchanged at 11.0% in August.

Elsewhere, the dollar was lower against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.22% at 1.5184, and was higher against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF adding 0.09% to 0.9729.

Sterling found support after data showed that U.K. gross domestic product expanded at a rate of 0.7% in the three months to June, meeting forecasts and unchanged from a preliminary estimate.

Year-over-year, U.K. economic growth expanded by 2.4% in the second quarter, down from an initial estimate of 2.6%.

A separate report showed that the U.K. current account recorded a deficit of £16.8 billion in the second quarter, narrowing from a deficit of £24.0 billion in the first quarter.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.62% to 0.7029 and with NZD/USD gaining 0.51% to 0.6379.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD edged down 0.13% to trade at 1.3377.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.22% at 96.28. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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