Dollar inches higher but prospects stay dreary

Dollar inches higher but prospects stay dreary

The dollar on Friday edged up from this week’s seven-month low, helped by comments from Federal Reserve officials suggesting a reduction in stimulus could be much closer than many thought.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard didn’t rule out a reduction in stimulus next month depending on U.S. economic data, while Kansas City Fed President Esther George, the lone dissenter on the Fed’s policy decision, said the U.S. central bank had sowed confusion and risked the bank’s credibility.

A tapering of the Fed’s bond-buying program is viewed as positive for the greenback because it entails reducing the amount of dollars in the market, thereby boosting its value.

The greenback was also supported by a resurgence of caution given a looming Congressional battle over the U.S. budget. Still the dollar’s outlook remained downbeat, after the Fed on Wednesday unexpectedly decided to keep its massive stimulus program intact for now, citing a still high U.S. unemployment rate and rising mortgage costs.

The dollar touched a one-week high against the yen and rose against the euro after Bullard’s remarks. It was last little changed versus the yen at 99.37 yen, while the euro also traded flat versus the greenback at $ 1.3519, having hit a 7-1/2-month high on Thursday. On the week, the euro was up 1.7 percent, its best weekly showing since February. The dollar index was last up 0.1 percent at 80.451, a little above Wednesday’s seven-month trough of 80.060.

The euro was down 0.1 percent against the yen at 134.31 yen, not far from a near four-year high of 134.94 yen touched on Thursday.

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