The U.S. dollar shed ground against its major counterparts on Wednesday, weighed down by some weak economic data, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments that the central bank might scale back the pace of its interest rate hikes as soon as December.
Speaking at an event at the Brookings Institution today, Powell said it makes sense to moderate the pace of rate increases as “we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down. The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting.”
However, Powell argued the timing of a slowdown in the pace of rate hikes is less significant than how much further the central bank will need to raise rates and how long it will be necessary to hold policy at a restrictive level.
In economic releases, payroll processor ADP’s report showed private sector employment increased by 127,000 jobs in November after surging by an unrevised 239,000 jobs in October. Economists had expected employment to jump by another 200,000 jobs.
A separate report from the National Association of Realtors showed a continued decrease in pending home sales in the month of October.
Meanwhile, revised data released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. economy grew by more than previously estimated in the third quarter.
The report said real gross domestic product spiked by 2.9% in the third quarter compared to the previously reported 2.6% surge. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be unrevised.
The dollar index dropped to 105.78 before recovering to 106.01, still down as much as 0.76% from the previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar weakened to 1.0408 from 1.0331.
The dollar is trading at 1.2049 against Pound Sterling, weakening from 1.1951.
Against the Japanese currency, the dollar eased to 138.10 yen from 138.71 yen.
The dollar fell sharply against the Aussie, dropping to 0.6785 from 0.6687.
Against Swiss franc, the dollar shed nearly 0.9%, fetching CHF 0.9452 a unit, as against CHF 0.9536 on Tuesday, and the Loonie firmed against the dollar to 1.3445 from 1.3581.