Dollar stays higher after Fed announces zero changes to interest rates

The U.S. dollar held on to earlier gains on Thursday after the Federal Reserve announced its latest monetary-policy decision.

Against a basket of six rival currencies, the dollar index was up 0.72 percent on the day, surpassing levels seen earlier in the day prior to the announcement.

The Fed kept interest rates unchanged. While the decision was widely expected, investors looked for clues about the central bank's next moves on policy. The Fed has raised rates three times this year and is expected to hike once more before year-end.

The greenback had fallen earlier this week in the wake of the U.S. midterm elections, which split power between the two houses of Congress. Democrats control of the House of Representatives suggests they will act as a check on President Donald Trump and could block further tax cuts and deregulation.

The U.S. currency has risen since the president's Republican party pushed through significant tax cuts, and strong economic growth has prompted the Fed to steadily raise interest rates.

Moves Muted

But moves were still muted as foreign exchange traders cautiously looked for their next cue on the strength of the global economy, despite world stocks racking up their longest winning streak of 2018 on Thursday.

The dollar rose 0.41 percent versus the Japanese yen to 113.98. The dollar has gained over the past week against the yen due to divergence in the monetary policies of the U.S. Fed and the Bank of Japan.

The dollar also strengthened by 0.49 percent against sterling as the political and economic risks of a no-deal British exit from the European Union persisted.

Prime Minister Theresa May stepped up attempts to court European support for a draft Brexit deal on Thursday as negotiations enter their final stages. She was due to meet three other EU leaders in Brussels at a NATO dinner on Thursday, and French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, the euro fell after the European Commission cut its forecasts for Italian growth, adding to investor concerns about Italy's debt and economic outlook. But the single currency retraced those losses and was up from Wednesday's close, last trading at $1.1359.

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