Investing.com – The dollar trimmed gains against a basket of other major currencies on Tuesday, after downbeat U.S. consumer confidence data and as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellensaid that rates will remain on hold for at least the next couple of meetings.
In a report, the Conference Board, a market research group said its index of consumer confidence fell to 96.4 this month from a reading of 103.8 in January, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported 102.9. Analysts expected the index to decline to 99.6 in February.
Meanwhile, in prepared remarks released before her testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Fed Chair Yellen said it was “unlikely” that economic conditions would warrant an interest rate increase for “at least the next couple of FOMC meetings”.
She added that if the economy keeps improving as the Fed expects it “will at some point begin considering an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate on a meeting-by-meeting basis.”
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 94.65.
The euro erased earlier losses, with EUR/USD steady at 1.1337 after Greece’s package of proposed economic reforms was approved by its euro zone creditors on Tuesday, securing Athens an extension of its bailout for another four months.
The package of measures includes taxation and public spending reforms and consolidating pension funds to reduce costs. Athens also pledged not to unwind state privatization programs and to stick to budget targets.
Greece’s current €240 billion bailout was scheduled to expire on February 28.
Earlier Tuesday, official data showed that euro zone consumer price inflation fell 0.6% last month, in line with expectations and unchanged from a preliminary estimate. Euro zone inflation declined by 0.2% in December.
The rate remains firmly below the European Central Bank’s target of near but just below 2%.
Core CPI, which excludes food, energy, alcohol, and tobacco costs rose 0.6% in January, meeting forecasts and unchanged from an initial estimate.
The dollar remained higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.21% to 119.06, while USD/CHF held steady near five-week highs at 0.9494.
In other trade, GBP/USD was little changed at 1.5453. Sterling remained supported after Bank of England policymaker Martin Weale said earlier that the central bank could start raising interest rates sooner than markets anticipate.
The New Zealand dollar trimmed losses, with NZD/USD still down 0.47% to 0.7490, while AUD/USD added 0.17% at 0.7815.
The Canadian dollar eased off one-and-a-half week lows, with USD/CAD steady at 1.2575.
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