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Dollar Drifts Lower Against Major Counterparts After Fed Minutes

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The U.S. dollar fell on Wednesday and posted losses against most of its major counterparts, as the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting suggested the central bank is considering slowing the pace of its interest rate hikes.

The minutes said a majority of meeting participants judged that a slowing in the pace of rate hikes would likely “soon be appropriate.”

A slower pace of rate hikes would better allow the Fed to assess progress toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability, the minutes said.

However, some participants suggested it could be advantageous to wait until the rates were more clearly in restrictive territory and there were more concrete signs that inflation pressures were receding significantly before slowing the pace of rate hikes.

The minutes also said participants agreed further interest rate increases would be appropriate in order to attain a sufficiently restrictive stance to bring inflation down over time.

Traders also digested a slew of economic data. A report from the Commerce Department showed durable goods orders in the U.S. shot up by 1% in October after rising by a downwardly revised 0.3% in September.

Another report from the Commerce Department showed new home sales spiked by 7.5% to an annual rate of 632,000 in October after plunging by 11% to a revised rate of 588,000 in September.

Data released by the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased by more than expected in the week ended November 19th, rising to 240,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 223,000.

The dollar index dropped to 106.03, losing more than 1.1%. It was last seen at 106.12, down 1.o3% from the previous close.

Against the Euro, the dollar is trading at 1.0398, down from the previous close of 1.0306.

The dollar is sharply lower against Pound Sterling at 1.2064, weakening from 1.1887.

Against the Japanese currency, the dollar is fetching 139.53 yen, after having settled at 141.22 yen on Tuesday.

The dollar is at 0.6736 against the Aussie. Against Swiss franc, the dollar has weakened to CHF 0.9422 from CHF 0.9519.

The Loonie is up marginally at 1.3350 a dollar, firming from 1.3373 a dollar.

Dow Jones Newswires: Bank of Korea raises rate by 25 basis points, easing pace of hikes

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