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Dollar mixed in cautious trade ahead of Fed news

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Shutterstock photo - The dollar was mixed against the other major currencies on Wednesday, after the release of disappointing U.S. housing sector data, as markets eyed the Federal Reserve's much anticipated policy decision later in the day.

During U.S. morning trade, the dollar edged lower against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.14% to 98.98.

Market participants shrugged off data showing that U.S. building permits fell by 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 918,000 units in August, from 954,000 the previous month. Analysts had expected building permits to fall by 0.4% to 950,000 units last month.

The report also showed that U.S. housing starts rose 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 891,000 units last month, from a downwardly revised 883,000 units in July, compared to expectations for a 3% increase to 917,000 units.

The data came as investors were eyeing the outcome of the Fed's two-day policy meeting, due to conclude later Wednesday. The central bank was expected to announce plans to start tapering its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program.

The pound remained near eight-month highs against the dollar, with GBP/USD gaining 0.39% to 1.5966 after the latest BoE minutes showed that no policymakers believed more stimulus is necessary at present.

Policymakers voted unanimously in favor of keeping the benchmark interest rate on hold at 0.5% and the size of the bank's asset purchase facility unchanged at GBP375 billion.

The minutes showed that policymakers believe the economic recovery in the U.K. is taking hold and outlined signs of a recovery in the euro zone.

The central bank also reiterated its forward guidance that it will not automatically raise interest rates when the U.K. unemployment rate falls below 7%.

Elsewhere, the euro was lower against the dollar, with EUR/USD slipping 0.14% to 1.3339.

The dollar was almost unchanged against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF inching up 0.01% to 0.9260.

Elsewhere, the greenback was broadly higher against its Australian, New Zealand and Canadian counterparts, with AUD/USD edging down 0.09% to 0.9347, NZD/USD sliding 0.34% to 0.8210 and USD/CAD adding 0.12% to 1.0308.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.04% to 81.33. - 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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