Dollar rises on Fed rate outlook; euro falls on Italian budget woes

The dollar rose to a more than one-week high against a basket of other major currencies on Thursday, boosted by the Federal Reserve's outlook for more rate hikes beyond this year as well as a weakening of the euro on worries about the Italian budget.

The greenback reached a two-week peak against the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar, which fell overnight after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Canada over the slow pace of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement. On Wednesday, the Fed raised rates for the third time in 2018, as expected.

The central bank still foresees another rate hike in December, three more next year, and one increase in 2020. That helped propel the dollar on Wednesday and carried over to Thursday, even as the Fed dropped "accommodative" from the its statement, which some analysts said was a dovish signal since it meant the Fed was moving to a neutral stance.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell later said its monetary policy was still accommodative.

"The Fed is moving faster than most central banks and that's dollar-supportive," said Erik Nelson, currency strategist, at Wells Fargo Securities in New York. "The Fed removed 'accommodative' in its statement and people are saying that we are moving closer to neutral. That will be eventually become a factor supporting foreign currencies against the dollar. But I am not sure we're there yet."

In afternoon trading, the dollar index rose 0.7 percent to 94.83. The greenback's gains came at the expense of the euro, which declined on media reports that an Italian budget meeting was likely to be delayed. That spooked traders concerned that Italy's ruling parties will push for a bigger deficit target.

The euro dropped 0.6 percent to $1.1665. Political wrangling over the budget in heavily indebted Italy, the euro zone's third-biggest economy, has overshadowed a recent revival in the euro's fortunes against the dollar.

Market analysts attributed the euro's drop to a report by the Corriere della Serra that a budget meeting was likely to be delayed.

Italian daily La Stampa said Economy Minister Giovanni Tria "was ready to leave," before a spokeswoman for the ministry denied that the minister planned to quit. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's office denied the cabinet meeting would be delayed but with Italy's new government struggling to contain the battle over fiscal policy, investors dumped the euro.