CURRENCIES: Dollar Dips As 'skeptical' Market Braces For Fed Minutes

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Anneken Tappe Features Dow Jones Newswires

The dollar lost ground Wednesday against most of its major rivals, as traders braced for Federal Reserve minutes due later in the day.

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Where are currencies trading?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.3% at 93.637, down from 93.962 late Tuesday. Meanwhile, the broader WSJ U.S. Dollar Index slipped 0.3.% to 86.97.

The dollar was down against the Japanese yen , buying Yen111.83, down from Yen112.44 late Tuesday in New York.

The British pound had a volatile morning, initially losing ground upon the release of the U.K. budget, before recovering. Sterling last bought $1.3277, up from $1.3237 late Tuesday,

The euro benefited from the weaker buck, rising to $1.1781, up from $1.1738 late Tuesday in New York.

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The dollar was also weaker against the Canadian dollar and the Swiss franc , buying C$1.2754, down 0.3%, and 0.9858, down 0.5%, respectively.

What is driving the market?

Market participants are focused on the minutes from the Fed's Nov. 1 meeting, which are due at 2 p.m. Eastern.

The minutes are widely expected to show the Fed is poised to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate to a range of 1.25% to 1.5% at its Dec. 12-13 meeting. But there are doubts about what could come after that, and they appear to be weighing on the dollar.

Read:Fed minutes likely to green light hike in December, but inflation debate still unsettled (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-minutes-likely-to-greenlight-rate-hike-in-december-but-inflation-debate-still-unsettled-2017-11-21)

In the U.K., attention was centered on the autumn budget, which included setting GBP3 billion aside for costs incurred in connections with Brexit, as well as a cut to growth forecasts. British gross domestic product is now expected to grow by 1.5% in 2017, down from 2% expected in March. For 2018 and 2019, the growth forecast has been slashed to 1.4% from 1.6%, and 1.3% from 1.7%, respectively.

Overshadowing the budget is Brexit, as a divorce deal between London and Brussels is meant to be reached within three weeks, according to reports.

Read:Here's why German political turmoil could hurt sterling more than euro (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-german-political-turmoil-could-hurt-sterling-more-than-the-euro-2017-11-21)

What are strategists saying?

"Dollar-yen dripped lower all night long finally tripping the Yen112 barrier where it held ground in subdued morning London dealing," said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, in a note. That said that rising equity markets, steady yields and supportive economic data should actually support the dollar here.

"The problem for the pair is that market remains skeptical about any further rate hikes in 2018," Schlossberg added.

What are the data?

Jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 18 read 239,750, compared with the MarketWatch consensus estimate of 240,000.

In other data, durable goods orders slipped 1.2% in October (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-durable-goods-orders-fall-12-in-october-in-whats-likely-a-temporary-setback-2017-11-22), versus the MarketWatch consensus forecast of 0.5% growth. Core capex orders for the same month fell by 0.5%, after growing 1.7% in September.

Consumer sentiment for November stood at 98.5, topping both the previous reading of 97.8 and the consensus forecast of 98.

The Fed minutes are due at 2 p.m. Eastern.

See:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2017 10:28 ET (15:28 GMT)