Feedback
Business

Dollar at Seven-Week Low as Fed Minutes Show Little Support for Rate Rise

The dollar fell to a seven-week low against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting showed a bias among policymakers against raising interest rates soon.

The minutes, released on Wednesday, showed members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee were generally upbeat about the U.S. economic outlook.

U.S. dollar bank notes are seen in a bank in Budapest
REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

But policymakers believing a slowdown in the future pace of hiring would argue against a near-term hike outnumbered those who anticipated economic conditions would soon warrant tightening.

The minutes disappointed those who had bet the Fed could be turning more hawkish, after New York Fed chief William Dudley said on Tuesday it could possibly raise rates as soon as September.

The dollar index fell as low as 94.324, its weakest since June 24, in the European session, later edging back to 94.460 but still down 1.3 percent this week.

The euro was 0.25 percent higher at $1.1315 , having hit a seven-week high of $1.1332.

"The minutes paint a balanced picture and support the market's view, according to which the likelihood of a small rate step by the end of the year is not even 50 percent," said Antje Praefcke, currency strategist at Commerzbank. "The dollar will enter the weekend on a weak footing."

The dollar eked out gains against the yen, with traders cautious about pushing the Japanese currency much higher amid expectations that the Bank of Japan could intervene. The dollar was trading 0.15 percent higher at 100.37 yen, having hit a seven-week low of 99.55 yen on Tuesday.

Japan's top currency diplomat - Vice Finance Minister Masatsugu Asakawa - repeated a warning against pushing up the yen too fast, saying on Thursday Japan would act appropriately in the event of excessive market moves.

"We are skeptical that Japan is close to intervening directly to weaken the yen, and even if intervention was undertaken it is likely to offer only temporary relief," said Lee Hardman, currency analyst at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.

"Overall, we remain comfortable with our outlook for further yen strength."

Sterling rose nearly 1 percent to a two-week high of $1.3173 after UK retail sales for July beat forecasts, apparently unaffected by Britain's vote to leave the European Union.