Dollar creeps higher ahead of Fed minutes release

AP News
Posted: Oct 11, 2010 3:56 PM

The dollar crept higher Monday ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's September meeting.

The U.S. currency had been selling off since the Fed's Sept. 21 meeting, when the central bank said it was ready to take more steps to prop up the economy. Financial markets interpreted the statement to mean the Fed would push U.S. interest rates still lower, which would weaken the dollar versus currencies from other countries that have higher interest rates.

The Fed's next interest rate meeting is coming up Nov. 2-3, and traders believe the central bank could announce a new bond-buying program or other stimulus then. Investors will scrutinize minutes from September's meeting for insight into what actions the Fed may take.

A measure of the U.S. currency against six other major currencies had dropped more than 5 percent since the day before the Fed's Sept. 21 meeting through last Friday. It traded last week at its lowest level since January, but had risen 0.4 percent by late Monday.

Joseph Trevisani, chief market analyst at FXSolutions, said Monday's move higher should not be taken as a sign that the dollar has bottomed.

In late trading in New York Monday, the euro fell to $1.3891 from $1.3912 late Friday, while the dollar's value was unchanged at 82.07 Japanese yen. Earlier in the day, the dollar struck a 15-year low of 81.40 yen, its weakest point since April 1995.

The dollar is falling again verus the yen despite a September intervention by Japan to keep its own currency weak, and help out the nation's exporters.

The weak dollar, at the same time, has made U.S. exports more competitive overseas, while making the imports from other countries pricier.

The dollar's drop against the yen and emerging-market currencies that depend on exports for growth has driven several other countries around the world, including Brazil, to weaken their own currencies. U.S. and European officials at the same time have criticized China for not allowing the yuan to strengthen fast enough, saying that it undermines the global economic recovery.

Meetings among finance ministers in Washington this weekend didn't do much to ease the tension.

In other trading Monday, the British pound dropped to $1.5886 from $1.5949.

The dollar was flat at 1.0133 Canadian dollars and edged up to 0.9637 Swiss francs from 0.9634 Swiss francs.