Dollar index extends losses after mixed U.S. data, eyes on Fed

Investing.com –

Investing.com – The dollar extended losses against the other major currencies on Tuesday, after the release of mixed U.S. economic reports, as investors turned their attention to the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy statement on Wednesday.

The Conference Board said its index of U.S. consumer confidence improved to an eight-year high of 102.9 this month from a reading of 93.1 in December, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported 92.6.

Analysts expected the index to increase to 95.1 in January.

Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that new home sales climbed by 11.6% to 481,000 units last month, above expectations for 450,000. New home sales in November were revised down to 431,000 units from a previously reported 438,000 units.

Data released earlier in the day showed that total U.S. durable goods orders dropped 3.4% last month, compared to expectations for a gain of 0.5%.

Core durable goods orders, excluding volatile transportation items, declined by 0.8% in December, disappointing forecasts for a 0.6% gain.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 1.26% at 94.10, still close to Friday’s more than 11-year highs of 95.77.

EUR/USD rallied 1.54% to 1.1410, off Monday’s lows of 1.1099, the weakest since September 2003.

The single currency hit 11-year lows against the dollar on Monday in the wake of a sweeping election victory for the anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece.

However, the euro stabilized as the currency’s steep losses prompted investors to take profits on bearish euro positions.

The pound was also higher against the dollar, with GBP/USD up 0.93% to 1.5213.

Earlier Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics reported that U.K. gross domestic product expanded by 0.5% in the final three months of 2014, below forecasts for growth of 0.6%. The U.K.’s economy grew by 0.7% in the previous quarter.

Year-over-year, U.K. economic growth grew 2.7% in the three months ending December, missing expectations for a gain of 2.8%. The U.K. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.6% in the third quarter of 2014.

The Swiss franc remained lower against the euro amid speculation that the Swiss National Bank was intervening in the market to weaken the currency. EUR/CHF advanced 1.04% to 1.0259 after rallying more than 3% on Monday. USD/CHF slid 0.47% to 0.8987, after rising as high as 0.9166 earlier.

In an interview on Tuesday, SNB Vice President Jean-Pierre Danthine said the bank was still “fundamentally prepared” to intervene in currency markets. “The minimum exchange rate couldn’t have been maintained anymore” with the ECB’s bond purchasing program, he added.

The dollar was also lower against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.90% to 117.40.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained higher, with AUD/USD rising 0.47% to 0.7963 and NZD/USD climbing 0.67% to 0.7475. The Canadian dollar pulled away from nearly six-year lows, with USD/CAD declining 0.72% at 1.2384.

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