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Forex - Dollar gains as market bets Fed on course to taper stimulus

ForexAug 16, 2013 03:49PM ET
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This article has already been saved in your Saved Items - The dollar moved higher against most major currencies on Friday after investors digested U.S. housing and consumer sentiment data and determined that despite hit-or-miss numbers, the underlying economy is improving and will allow the Federal Reserve to taper stimulus programs soon.

Stimulus tools such as the Fed's USD85 billion monthly bond-buying program weaken the dollar to spur recovery, and talk of their dismantling can bolster the currency.

In U.S. trading on Friday, EUR/USD was down 0.07% at 1.3336.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. building permits rose 2.7% to 943,000 units in July, disappointing expectations for an increase of 2.9% to 945,000 units although June's figure was revised up to 918,000 units from 911,000.

The government added that housing starts rose 5.9% to 896,000 units in July, missing expectations for a 8.3% increase to 900,000 units. Still, June's figure was revised up to 846,000 units from 836,000.

Elsewhere, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment index fell to 80.0 in August from 85.1 in July. Analysts were expecting the index to rise to 85.5 this month.

Not all U.S. data missed expectations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a preliminary report that nonfarm productivity rose 0.9% in the second quarter, beating expectations for a 0.6% gain after a 1.7% decline in the previous quarter.

The day's data, while mixed, still painted a picture of an economy that is improving and will soon no longer require support from Federal Reserve stimulus measures.

Meanwhile in the euro zone, consumer price inflation remained unchanged at 1.6% in July from a year ago, in line with expectations.

The bloc's core consumer price inflation, which excludes food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco, rose 1.1%  on year in July, also in line with expectations.

Separately, the European Central Bank said the current account surplus narrowed to EUR16.9 billion in June from a EUR19.5 billion surplus the previous month.

Analysts were expected the current account surplus to narrow to EUR19.0 billion in June.

The greenback, meanwhile, was up slightly against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.04% at 1.5628.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.14% at 97.52, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF trading up 0.05% at 0.9267.

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 0.26% at 1.0334, AUD/USD up 0.52% at 0.9190 and NZD/USD trading up 0.36% at 0.8103.

Canadian manufacturing sales contracted 0.5% in June, according to official data, defying expectations for a 1.0% increase. Manufacturing sales for May were revised down to a 0.6% rise from a previously estimated 0.7% increase.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.18% at 81.32.

On Friday, the U.S. will release data on building permits, a leading indicator of future construction sector activity, as well as data on housing starts. The University of Michigan is to release its closely watched preliminary data on consumer sentiment.

Forex - Dollar gains as market bets Fed on course to taper stimulus

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