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The dollar edged higher in early European trade Thursday, finding support from comments suggesting the Federal Reserve will soon have to discuss tapering its massive bond-buying program, thus tightening monetary policy.
At 2:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was up less than 0.1% at 90.065, after climbing above 90 overnight for the first time since the start of the week.
EUR/USD traded flat at 1.2191, GBP/USD fell slightly to 1.4116, near a one-week low, while the risk-sensitive AUD/USD was flat at 0.7739.
Numerous Fed officials have this week sought to downplay immediate concerns that rising inflationary pressures will force the central bank to tighten monetary policy sooner than its previous guidance would suggest, to the detriment of the dollar.
However, the U.S. currency received some support late Wednesday when Randal Quarles, the Fed Vice Chairman for Supervision, stated that the central bank will need to start discussing shortly plans to reduce its bond purchases if the economy continues to show massive improvement as it emerges from the pandemic.
Asian shares reversed early losses on Thursday and hovered near two-week highs while the dollar held at a one-week top as investors awaited key U.S. data to gauge whether inflationary pressures were transient or signalled a more durable turn.
The monthly U.S. personal consumption report is due out on Friday while U.S. gross domestic product and jobless claims numbers are expected later in the day.
In a sign of a tentative start for overseas markets, Eurostoxx 50 futures, futures for Germany’s DAX and those for London’s FTSE were all flat in late Asian trading. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.1%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last at 695.73, not too far from Wednesday’s high of 696.76, a level last seen on May 10.
Oil prices fell on Thursday but stayed within the tight range set this week, with optimism about the summer driving season in the United States and Europe offsetting concerns on demand in India and a potential increase in Iranian supplies.
Brent crude had shed 42 cents, or 0.6%, to $68.45 a barrel by 0641 GMT, erasing Wednesday’s gain of 22 cents. Brent has traded between $68 and $69 for most of this week.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 35 cents, or 0.5%, to $65.86 a barrel, after a rise of 14 cents on Wednesday, but still within the week’s $65 to $66 range.
“Most of the euro zone countries’ travel restrictions are lifted considering lower COVID-19 cases boosting demand. However, the rise in cases across many Asian countries including India and the tighter lockdowns have capped a price rally,” said Sunilkumar Katke, head of currencies and commodities at Axis Securities.
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