Dollar Gains Ahead of Fed Chair’s Remarks

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By Jacob Maslow

The American dollar edged higher against rival currencies on Wednesday, as investors anticipate the statement of Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen before the House Financial Services Committee, slated later in the day.

USD/JPY was up at 115.14, higher from Tuesday’s lows of 114.20, which was the weakest point since November 2014.

Demand for the yen remained weak as Japan’s Nikkei fell overnight, amid persistent worries over the outlook of the global economy and the stability of the euro zone financial sector.

Investors feverishly sold off global stocks this week, spurred by longstanding depression in the commodity sector and aggravated by fears of a slowing global economy.

The Japanese currency’s gains came despite the Bank of Japan’s policy announcement adopting negative interest rates in January.

Investors will be closely monitoring Yellen’s testimony before the U.S. congress for indications on future interest rate hikes.

EUR/USD fell 0.41% trading at 1.1246.

Elsewhere, the greenback was weaker against the sterling, with GBP/USD inching up 0.17% at 1.4498, but was stronger against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF gaining 0.18% to trade at 0.9746.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD remained virtually unchanged at 1.3875 as crude oil prices plunged back below $28 a barrel on Wednesday.

The New Zealand and Australian dollars both gained today, with NZD/USD gaining 0.34% to 0.6656 and the AUD/USD going up 0.49% at 0.7106.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the American currency’s strength against 6 trade-weighted major currencies, was up 0.24% at 96.28.

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