After a weak start to the session, the dollar is gaining ground against its major rivals Tuesday afternoon. The reversal was sparked by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony before Congress this morning.
Powell reiterated during testimony on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that the central bank believes gradually raising interest rates is the “best way forward.”
Appearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell offered an upbeat assessment of the state of the U.S. economy.
Powell said the U.S. economy has grown at a solid pace so far this year and noted the latest data suggests economic growth in the second quarter was “considerably stronger” than in the first quarter.
The Fed chief also described recent inflation data as “encouraging,” with consumer price inflation a little above the central bank’s 2 percent target.
“Looking ahead, my colleagues on the FOMC and I expect that, with appropriate monetary policy, the job market will remain strong and inflation will stay near 2 percent over the next several years,” Powell said.
Partly reflecting a rebound in auto production, the Federal Reserve released a report on Tuesday showing industrial production in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of June. The Fed said industrial production climbed by 0.6 percent in June after falling by a downwardly revised 0.5 percent in May.
Economists had expected production to increase by 0.6 percent compared to the 0.1 percent dip originally reported for the previous month.
Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. has held steady in the month of July, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders on Tuesday. The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index remained unchanged in July after dipping to 68 in June. The unchanged reading matched economist estimates.
The dollar dropped to an early low of $1.1744 against the Euro Tuesday, but has since rebounded to around $1.1650.
The buck slid to a low of $1.3268 against the pound sterling Tuesday morning, but has since bounced back to around $1.3125.
Britain’s employment level set a fresh record in the three months to May and unemployment was unchanged, yet pay growth eased to its lowest in six months, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday.
Employment reached a record high 32.399 million in the March to May period, rising by 137,000 from the previous three months. Economists had forecast employment growth of 115,000.
The greenback dipped to an early low of Y112.221 against the Japanese Yen Tuesday, but has since climbed to around Y112.890.