Investing.com – AUD/USD fell during Asian trading hours on Wednesday after a wose than expected consumer sentiment in Australia.
Released by Westpack Banking Corporation, the consumer sentiment Index in Australia fell 3% in February against a fall of 1.7% in January.
Meanwhile Statistics New Zealand reported on Wednesday that country’s electronic card retail sales in January fell by 0.5% verses in December when they had risen by 0.06%. The market had expected a similar rise in January as well. The YoY rise in the electronic case sales was 6.1% as against the previous rise of 5.5%.
AUD/USD fell 0.13% at 0.9024, USD/JPY fell 0.05% at 102.57 and NZD/USD fell 0.09% at 0.8311.
On Tuesday, the greenback traded mixed to lower after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told U.S. lawmakers that policy will remain accommodative even as monetary authorities taper stimulus programs that weaken the dollar to boost the economy.
In prepared remarks to the House Financial Services Committee, Fed Chair Yellen suggested that the central bank would taper the pace of its asset purchases at future meetings if the economy continued to improve as expected, which gave the dollar some support.
“Let me emphasize that I expect a great deal of continuity in the Federal Open Market Committee’s approach to monetary policy,” she said.
Still, Yellen added that the pace of the central bank’s bond purchases are not on a “preset course” and reiterated that the Fed plans to hold interest rates near zero “well past” the time the jobless rate falls below 6.5%.
Weakening the greenback, however, were Yellen''s observations that "the recovery in the labor market is far from complete" despite progress seen over the last year, describing the country''s 6.6% unemployment rate as "well above levels" that Fed officials consider sustainable in a healthy economy.
The Fed is currently purchasing USD65 billion in Treasury holdings and mortgage debt a month to suppress interest rates to spur recovery, and Yellen''s words, while in line with market expectations, kept sentiments firm that monetary authorities will trim asset purchases on a gradual basis, while tightening remains far off on the horizon.
The dollar saw support on expectations for further cuts to the Fed''s bond-buying program, though demand for risk-on assets like stocks — the product of Yellen''s consistent policy stance since Ben Bernanke''s departure — enticed investors out of safe-haven dollar positions that, in turn, weakened the currency.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was flat at 80.71.
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