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Dollar rises on comments by Fed's Rosengren; on track for weekly loss

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

The dollar index edged higher on Friday, reversing earlier selling, after Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said he believed U.S. short-term interest rates should be raised now and warned a decline in the jobless rate below sustainable levels could derail economic recovery.

Rosengren was one of three members of the Federal Open Market Committee to dissent at this week's policy meeting that left rates unchanged at a range of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

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Rosengren was joined in his dissent by Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, and his was the first public comment from the three who expressed favor for raising rates.

"Given the lack of information and the lack of news in the market, you hear (from Rosengren) and it's enough to move markets a bit," said Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange. "We're dealing with a market today that's very quiet."

Borthwick added that the dollar's rise may also be due to investors squaring positions ahead of Monday night's U.S. presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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The dollar index was last up 0.1 percent at 95.531. It had earlier fallen as low as 95.340 and was on track for its worst week in a month.

Sterling fell 1 percent against the dollar, sliding below $1.30, weighed by further Brexit uncertainty after comments from UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who said Thursday that the government was in talks to leave the European Union as soon as next year.

The pound had jumped back over $1.29 on Thursday, after Bank of England policymaker Kristen Forbes said she saw no case for a further cut in interest rates, after the Bank slashed them to a record low of 0.25 percent last month.

Sterling hit a three-decade low below $1.28 in the wake of Britain's shock Brexit vote but had climbed about 5 percent as of early September as data showed the economy holding up relatively well.

That uncertainty is making it easier for investors to bet against sterling, said Vassili Serebriakov, FX strategist at Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank.

"We're breaking technical levels and the overall bearishness that some of the recent headlines over the past two weeks have reinforced - concerns about the Brexit process - are making markets comfortable to stick with sterling shorts," he said.