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Dollar Hovering Near 3-Week Highs ahead of Fed Minutes

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar was hovering just below three-week highs in subdued trade on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July meeting later in the day for fresh clues on the monetary policy outlook.

The Fed cut rates for the first time since 2008 last month in what Chairman Jerome Powell called a “mid-cycle adjustment.” Financial markets are still expecting further rate cuts before the end of the year against a background of heightened trade tensions and slowing growth.

The minutes come ahead of the central bank's annual Jackson Hole seminar later this week, where Powell is to give an eagerly awaited speech on Friday. His comments are of particular interest after last week's inversion of the U.S. yield curve - widely regarded as a recession signal - boosted expectations the Fed would cut rates again at its September meeting.

The U.S. dollar index against a basket of six major currencies edged up 0.12% to 98.17 by 03:05 AM ET (07:05 GMT) after shedding 0.2% overnight.

The index had climbed to 98.33 on Tuesday, its highest since Aug. 1, as U.S. yields bounced from multi-year lows at the week's start on signs global policymakers were ready to step up stimulus support to stave off a steep economic downturn.

U.S. yields, however, declined overnight on the prospect of more easing by the Fed.

Takuya Kanda, general manager at Gaitame.Com Research Institute, believes U.S. President Donald Trump's "strong desire for deep rate cuts" may raise hopes among some traders of strong easing signals at Jackson Hole. But he also warned that Powell may opt to give little away in his speech as the Fed prepares for next month's meeting.

The dollar rose 0.34% to 106.58 yen reversing a part of the previous day's losses, while the euro was a touch lower at 1.1089 having put on 0.2% overnight.

The single currency dipped briefly after Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation on Tuesday.

"Conte's resignation won't have a strong impact on the euro in the longer run as it is only a chapter in the ever-shifting Italian politics," said Kanda at Gaitame.Com Research.

In addition to the Fed, the euro also has to contend with the possibility of the European Central Bank easing policy in September.

The Bundesbank said on Monday that the German economy may have continued to shrink over the summer as industrial production declined. That would mean the euro zone's biggest economy is now in recession following the second quarter's decline reported last week. Recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

"Germany in recession would generate a strong buzz, and there is no doubt that economic conditions in the zone would force the ECB to take its next policy steps," said Daisuke Karakama, chief market economist at Mizuho Bank.

Sterling was down 0.24% to 1.2138, giving back some of the previous sessions gains.

The British pound rose after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would think about practical solutions regarding the post-Brexit Irish border.

--Reuters contributed to this report

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