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Dollar rallies vs. other majors as markets digest Fed statement

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Shutterstock photo - - The dollar rose sharply against a basket of other major currencies on Thursday, as the greenback recovered from news U.S. interest rates will remain on hold for a longer period of time than expected.

The dollar regained some ground after weakening broadly on Wednesday when the Fed indicated that U.S. economic growth has moderated and that interest rates will rise at a slower pace than previously forecast.

In a statement following its monetary policy meeting, the U.S. central bank also downgraded its forecasts for growth and inflation.

The Fed dropped a reference to being "patient" on the timing of rate hikes, but added that the change in its forward guidance did not mean it has decided on the timing for an initial rate increase.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 1.69% to 99.03, re-approaching the previous week's 11-1/2 year highs of 100.78.

USD/CHF jumped 1.14% to 0.9894 and EUR/CHF slid 0.42% to trade at 1.0582 after the Swiss National Bank said it was keeping its benchmark interest rate unchanged at minus 0.75%, in line with market expectations.

The central bank left the target range for the three-month Libor unchanged at between minus 1.25% and minus 0.25%.

In a statement, the central bank said the Swiss franc continued to be "significantly overvalued" and added that it will "remain active in the foreign exchange market, as necessary, in order to influence monetary conditions."

The SNB also cut its forecasts for inflation and growth from its December forecast, in response to the franc's rally against the euro after it abandoned its 1.20 exchange rate floor against the single currency in mid-January.

The euro lost ground against the dollar, with EUR/USD plummeting 1.60% to 1.0694.

The dollar was also higher against the yen and the pound, with USD/JPY gaining 0.41% to 120.60 and with GBP/USD sliding 0.57% to 1.4895.

Meanwhile, the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars was broadly weaker, with AUD/USD tumbling 1.15% to 0.7682 and NZD/USD down 0.92% to 0.7416, while USD/CAD jumped 0.90% to 1.2675.

Official data earlier showed that New Zealand's gross domestic product expanded at a rate of 0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2014, in line with expectations and down from 0.9% in the previous quarter, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated growth rate of 1.0%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release reports on jobless claims, the current account and manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region. 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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