Dollar gains in Asia
The dollar made some gains in Asia oN Friday after comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the Trump administration wants a tax cut plan passed by Congress by August and as investors weighed the prospects of the Fed hiking rates in March.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.12% to 101.07. USD/JPY changed hands at 112.84, up 0.20%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7705, down 0.12%.
Overnight, the dollar pushed lower against other major currencies on Thursday, after the release of downnbeat U.S. jobless claims data and as the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting failed to deliver a clear message on the pace of future rate hikes.
The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims increased by 6,000 to 244,000 in the week ending February 18 from the previous week’s revised total of 238,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 2,000 to 241,000 last week. Late Wednesday, the minutes of the Fed’s January policy meeting showed that policymakers thought it may be appropriate to raise interest rates again “fairly soon.”
However, the minutes also revealed the central bank’s uncertainty over the lack of clarity of the Trump administration’s economic program, which limited the greenback’s gains. The minutes came after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week that a rate increase would be appropriate at one of the Fed’s forthcoming meetings.