The U.S. dollar was trading at six-week highs against other major currencies on Thursday, as hawkish remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continued to boost demand for the greenback.
The greenback remained broadly supported after Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated on Tuesday that the U.S. central bank would likely move forward with gradual increases in interest rates.
“The economic outlook remains strong,” he said. “Further gradual increases in the federal funds rate will best promote attainment of both of our objectives.”
Powell was speaking at his first semi-annual monetary policy testimony to the House Financial Services Committee since taking over the helm of Fed earlier this month.
Market participants were looking ahead to the second part of Powell’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee due later Thursday.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.12% at 90.72 by 05:15 a.m. ET (09:15 GMT), the highest since January 18.
The euro was steady, with EUR/USD at 1.2184, while GBP/USD fell 0.22% to 1.3731.
Earlier Thursday, data showed that UK manufacturing activity slowed last month, albeit less than initially expected.
Elsewhere, the yen and the Swiss franc were weaker, with USD/JPY up 0.10% at 106.78 and with USD/CHF adding 0.13% to trade at 0.9454.
The Australian dollar was also lower, with AUD/USD down 0.55% at 0.7718, while NZD/USD held steady at 0.7205.
The Aussie came under pressure after data earlier showed that Australia’s private capital expenditure declined 0.2% in the fourth quarter, confounding expectations for a 0.9% rise.
Meanwhile, USD/CAD added 0.17% to 1.2854.