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Forex - Dollar index extends gains on upbeat U.S. data - - The dollar extended gains against other major currencies on Wednesday, helped by the release of upbeat U.S. inflation and retail sales data and as comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggesting a near-term rate hike continued to support.

EUR/USD dropped 0.50% to a fresh five-week low of 1.0524.

The Commerce Department said that consumer prices increased by 0.6% last month, compared to forecasts for a 0.3% rise. Year-over-year, consumer prices climbed 2.5% in January.

Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy costs, increased by 0.3%, above expectations for 0.2%.

A separate report showed that U.S. retail sales rose 0.4% in January, compared to expectations for a 0.1% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, increased by 0.8% in January, compared to forecasts for an advance of 0.4%.

The dollar also remained supported since Ms. Yellen told the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that waiting too long to raise interest rates would be "unwise," given the rise in inflation and economic growth.

Meanwhile, the single currency remained under pressure amid concerns over Greece's bailout negotiations and the possibility of a Brexit or Trump-style shock result in France's upcoming presidential election.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD declined 0.65% to 1.2429, the lowest since February 7.

The Office for National Statistics earlier reported that the U.K. unemployment rate remained steady at an 11-year low of 4.8% in the three months to December.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell by 42,400 to 787,400 in January compared with a revised fall of 20,500 in December.

The ONS also said earnings excluding bonuses rose by 2.6% in the last quarter, down from 2.7% a month ago. Including bonuses, earnings also rose by 2.6%, down from 2.8%.

USD/JPY clinbed 0.59% to 114.92, the highest since January 30, while USD/CHF gained 0.51% to trade at 1.0112.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars turned lower, with AUD/USD down 0.21% at 0.7646 and with NZD/USD shedding 0.24% to 0.7151.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD rose 0.24% to trade at 1.3107, pulling away from the previous session's one-week trough of 1.3022.

Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that manufacturing sales rose 2.3% in December, exceeding expectations for an uptick of 0.2%. Manufacturing sales gained 2.3% in November, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 1.5% rise.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.47% at a one-month high of 101.69. 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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