Top Stories
Top Stories

Dollar dips on Fed rate hike doubts

Getty Images

The dollar slid across the board on Tuesday, as investors shifted their focus away from hawkish remarks on U.S. interest rates by Federal Reserve officials and toward a speech on Friday by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

The greenback was given a boost over the weekend when Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said the U.S. central bank was getting close to its job and inflation targets, prompting speculation a rate hike could come as soon as September.

Yellen will speak at the annual meeting of world central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the end of the week.

Economist: Dollar/yen to head to 104 levels by year end

Investors are anxious to see whether Yellen will echo the hawkish views expressed by Fischer and New York Fed President William Dudley, or take a more subdued stance in line with the minutes from the Fed's July policy meeting. Those minutes suggested the central bank was not in a hurry to raise rates.

"The big surprise (at Jackson Hole) would be a hawkish shift from Yellen which would be enough to rock the boat on risk and send U.S. rates and the dollar sharply higher," said Brad Bechtel, managing director at Jefferies in New York.

"But I doubt she wants to do this and would prefer a relatively mixed view that has elements of hawkishness and dovishness and ultimately results in a December tightening, but a dovish December tightening."

The dollar index, having hit a five-day high of 94.958 against a basket of currencies on Monday, was up 0.03 percent to 94.54 mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Dollar could strengthen post-Jackson Hole: Strategist

The dollar briefly dipped below 100 earlier before recovering to 100.20 yen in the mid-afternoon session, leaving it down 0.14 percent on the day.

The greenback was helped by data showing that U.S. new home sales surged 12.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 units last month, the highest level since October 2007.

The biggest mover among developed-world currencies on Tuesday was the New Zealand dollar, which rose as much as 1 percent to US$0.7340 after Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler said he did not see the need for a rapid succession of interest rate cuts.

The euro last dropped 0.12 percent to $1.1304. Data showed euro zone private business activity was stable in August, albeit at a muted level, alleviating some concerns that Britain's vote to leave the European Union would spill over negatively into the currency bloc.