Tue, 05 Dec 2023

U.S. dollar firms up amid flight to safety havens

25 May 2023, 07:18 GMT+10

New York, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. dollar index edged higher on Wednesday as concerns over U.S. debt ceiling talks stoked risk aversion among investors.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, increased 0.38 percent to 103.8847 in late trading.

The fall of major stocks markets across the globe weighed on risk appetite on Wednesday bolstering the U.S. dollar.

Demand for the safe-haven U.S. dollar is rising as traders stay focused on debt ceiling talks, said Vladimir Zernov, analyst with market information supplier FX Empire.

As U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy continue to negotiate over raising the federal debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed Wednesday that the Treasury would be unlikely to meet all U.S. government payment obligations as early as June 1, without a congressional decision to raise the debt ceiling of 31.4 trillion U.S. dollars.

"We are committed to not having missed payments and raising the debt ceiling, but we're not involved in planning for what happens if there's a default," Yellen said.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials were divided over the interest rates, with some members seeing the need for more increases while others expected a slowdown to remove the need to tighten further, according to the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's May meeting released on Wednesday.

Participants generally expressed uncertainty about how much more policy tightening may be appropriate, with many participants focusing on the need to retain optionality after this meeting, said the minutes, which provided more insight into the central bank's thinking on interest rates and inflation.

"I do not support stopping rate hikes unless we get clear evidence that inflation is moving down towards our 2 percent objective, but whether we should hike or skip at the June meeting will depend on how the data come in over the next three weeks," said Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller.

In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.0750 U.S. dollars from 1.0775 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound was down to 1.2361 U.S. dollars from 1.2417 dollars in the previous session.

The U.S. dollar bought 139.1400 Japanese yen, higher than 138.5240 Japanese yen of the previous session. The U.S. dollar increased to 0.9051 Swiss franc from 0.9013 Swiss franc, and it increased to 1.3598 Canadian dollars from 1.3505 Canadian dollars. The U.S. dollar increased to 10.7255 Swedish Krona from 10.6239 Swedish Krona.

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