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Dollar holds higher after Fed minutes are released

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

The U.S. dollar gained against the yen on Wednesday for the first time in four days after the minutes from the Federal Open Markets Committee's (FOMC) March meeting were released, indicating that central bank members actually seem a little more pessimistic about the chances for any immediate changes in interest rates.

By afternoon trading, the dollar rose 0.46 percent to 111.25 yen.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a trade-weighted basket of six peers, was up slightly at 100.68. The index briefly hit a high of 100.85, its highest level since March 15, when it was trading as high as 101.72. But anxiety about the U.S.-China meeting and a risk-averse mood this week have kept it from further gains.

The euro, meanwhile, slipped 0.17 percent to $1.0654.

Officials now seem to believe that any boost from President Donald Trump's plans to cut taxes, lower regulations and increase infrastructure spending won't happen until at least 2018.

At the December meeting, FOMC members indicated their belief that stronger fiscal policy was on the way, and they boosted their growth forecasts accordingly.

Also on Wednesday, a report showed U.S. private sector employers created more jobs than expected in March, suggesting a stable labor market and supporting forecasts for at least two more interest-rate hikes this year

U.S. private employers added 263,000 jobs in March, more than their hirings in February and well above economists' expectations, a report by a payroll processor showed on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 187,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 110,000 to 225,000.

"The ADP survey is clearly another indication that, despite the apparent slowdown in GDP growth in the first quarter, labor market conditions have remained unusually strong," said Capital Economics economist Andrew Hunter.

Before the data's release, the market has been rattled by political tension arising from an upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Trump's consistently harsh rhetoric on China has raised concerns about Thursday's summit, as has speculation that the U.S. president will face challenges implementing his promised growth-boosting policies after his administration failed to pass a healthcare overhaul.

—CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.