The dollar got off to a positive start Wednesday, but has since pared its early gains. The buck is now turning in a mixed performance, but remains little change overall. Traders continued to keep a close eye on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before Congress.
Also, two weeks ahead of the next monetary policy meeting, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book economic report on Wednesday.
The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, said economic activity continued to expand across the U.S.
Ten of the twelve Fed districts reported moderate or modest growth, while the Dallas district reported strong growth due to strength in the energy sector and the St. Louis district described growth as slight.
The Fed noted manufacturers across the country expressed concern about tariffs, with many districts citing new trade policies for higher prices and supply disruptions.
After reporting a sharp increase in new residential construction in the U.S. in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing a much steeper than expected pullback in housing starts in the month of June.
The Commerce Department said housing starts plunged by 12.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.173 million in June after jumping by 4.8 percent to a revised rate of 1.337 million in May.
Economists had expected housing starts to drop by 2.2 percent to a rate of 1.320 million from the 1.350 million originally reported for the previous month.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, also fell by 2.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.273 million in June after tumbling by 4.6 percent to a rate of 1.301 million in May.
The continued decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected building permits to climb to an annual rate of 1.330 million.
The dollar climbed to an early high of $1.1602 against the Euro Wednesday, but has since retreated to around $1.1650.
Euro area annual inflation accelerated in June, exceeding the European Central Bank’s target of “below, but close to 2 percent”, final data from Eurostat confirmed Wednesday.
The annual inflation rate rose to 2 percent from 1.9 percent in May, in line with the flash estimate release on June 29.
Eurozone’s construction output growth improved for a third straight month, preliminary data from Eurostat showed Wednesday.
Construction output rose 1.8 percent year-on-year after a 1.2 percent increase in April. Output climbed for a third straight month after stagnation in February.
The buck rose to a high of $1.3010 against the pound sterling Wednesday morning, but has since eased back to around $1.3050.
UK inflation remained stable for the second straight month in June, the Office for National Statistics reported Wednesday.
Consumer prices climbed 2.4 percent year-over-year in June, the same rate of increase as in the previous two months. Meanwhile, the inflation was expected to accelerate to 2.6 percent.
UK house prices rose at their slowest pace in nearly five years during May, latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.
Average house prices rose 3 percent year-on-year after a 3.5 percent increase in April.
The greenback reached an early high of Y113.137 against the Japanese Yen Wednesday, but has since pulled back to around Y112.800.