- The dollar extended its rally against the other major currencies on Thursday, boosted by growing expectations that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as soon as next year.

EUR/USD dropped 0.47% to 1.3767, down from Wednesday’s close of 1.3815.

The Fed said it would reduce its monthly bond purchases by an additional $10 billion to $55 billion at the conclusion of its two-day policy setting meeting on Wednesday.

The dollar rallied after Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the bank could begin to raise interest rates about six months after the bond-buying program winds up, which is expected to happen this fall.

The comments prompted investors to bring forward expectations for a rate hike to as soon as April of next year.

However, the Fed statement also emphasized that economic conditions could mean that rates would remain on hold at record lows for some time, even after inflation and employment return to their longer-run trends.

Meanwhile, data on Thursday showed that U.S. initial jobless claims rose less-then-expected last week.

The Department of Labor reported that the number of people filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending March 15 rose by 5,000 to 320,000 from the previous week’s total of 315,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 10,000 last week.

The dollar was steady against the yen, with USD/JPY inching up 0.05% to 102.38.

Elsewhere, the dollar hit fresh two-week highs against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF gaining 0.52% to 0.8855. The Swiss franc slipped after the Swiss National Bank left rates on hold at 0.0% on Thursday and said it was maintaining its 1.20 minimum exchange rate floor against the euro.

The dollar rose against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.21% at 1.6502.

The Australian dollar was lower against the greenback, with AUD/USD slipping 0.23% to 0.9019. Meanwhile, , USD/CAD was up 0.24% to fresh four-and-a-half year peaks of 1.1270.

The New Zealand dollar was also lower, with NZD/USD down 0.57% to 0.8511. Earlier Thursday, official data showed that New Zealand’s economy grew 0.9% in the fourth quarter, falling short of expectations for 1% growth, while growth in the previous three months was revised slightly lower.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.33% to 80.39.

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