© Reuters. A U.S. Dollar banknote
By Hideyuki Sano and Sagarika Jaisinghani
TOKYO (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar was on the defensive on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signalled it was in no hurry to raise interest rates through all of 2023 even as it saw a swift recovery in the world's largest economy.
The dollar's index against six major currencies stood at 91.488. It had hit a two-week low of 91.340 after remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell dampened speculation the stronger economic outlook could propel the central bank to wind back its stimulus.
The euro eased to $1.19655, but was hovering close to its one-week high of $1.19900 after rallying 0.6% on Wednesday.
"What the Fed said is a very market-friendly outcome. It's negative for the dollar, good for inflation expectations," said Chris Weston, the head of research at Pepperstone Markets Ltd, a foreign exchange broker based in Melbourne.
"Ultimately, the market was kind of positioned for something a little bit more hawkish, and maybe the fact that those rate hikes are pushed out to 2023 has been enough to cause some decent dollar selling."
The U.S. central bank now sees the economy growing 6.5% this year, which would be the largest annual jump in gross domestic product since 1984. Inflation is now expected to exceed the Fed's 2% target to 2.4% this year, although officials think it will move back to around 2% in subsequent years.
The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield edged back up to about 1.6710% and was nearing a more-than-one-year high.
Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.2% to as low as 108.620 yen after a Nikkei report said the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is expected to slightly widen an implicit band at which it allows long-term interest rates to move around its 0% target.
A recent Reuters poll showed two thirds of Japanese firms had expected the BOJ to curb rises in long-term interest rates and keep them steady ahead of the central bank's review this week on how it will make its stimulus policy more sustainable.
The British pound traded at $1.3946, having gained about 0.5% overnight.
The Bank of England is expected to keep its benchmark Bank Rate at a historic low of 0.1% and its bond-buying programme unchanged at 895 billion pounds later in the day.
"Similar to what we've seen from the Fed, the Bank of England will talk up their prospects of the economy relative to where we've been, but at the same time emphasize that we're still a long way from full recovery," said Rodrigo Catril, senior currency strategist at National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) in Sydney.
"We expect the BoE to gently warn against the shift in market pricing from a rate cut to around 50bps of hikes over the next three years."
The Australian dollar rose to a two-week high of $0.78350, whereas its New Zealand counterpart briefly lost momentum after the country posted a surprise contraction in GDP in the final three months of last year.
The kiwi dollar last traded at $0.7241.
Bitcoin held firm at $58,954.64, having bounced from Tuesday's one-week low of $53,221.
Currency bid prices at 0415 GMT
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Previous Session Pct Change YTD Pct Change High Bid Low Bid
Euro/Dollar $1.1957 $1.1980 -0.19% -2.14% +1.1988 +1.1956
Dollar/Yen 108.9700 108.8150 +0.14% +5.50% +109.1200 +108.6600
Euro/Yen 130.28 130.36 -0.06% +2.65% +130.6600 +130.0700
Dollar/Swiss 0.9239 0.9221 +0.13% +4.36% +0.9242 +0.9222
Sterling/Dollar 1.3938 1.3970 -0.25% +2.00% +1.3977 +1.3934
Dollar/Canadian 1.2406 1.2402 +0.04% -2.57% +1.2407 +1.2379
Aussie/Dollar 0.7821 0.7795 +0.35% +1.68% +0.7835 +0.7794
NZ Dollar/Dollar 0.7238 0.7240 +0.03% +0.85% +0.7258 +0.7230
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