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Dollar Strengthens On Powel Comments

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The dollar is up against all of its major rivals Tuesday afternoon. The buck has strengthened following comments made by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

In prepared remarks, Powell reiterated the Fed's view that further gradual increases in interest rates will best promote attainment of both of the central bank's objectives.

"While many factors shape the economic outlook, some of the headwinds the U.S. economy faced in previous years have turned into tailwinds," Powell says in his prepared remarks.

He added, "In particular, fiscal policy has become more stimulative and foreign demand for U.S. exports is on a firmer trajectory."

Powell also said financial conditions remain accommodative despite recent volatility and highlighted strong consumer spending and job growth.

After reporting a bigger than expected jump in orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing durable goods orders pulled back by more than expected in January.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders plunged by 3.7 percent in January after surging up by a revised 2.6 percent in December. Economists had expected durable goods orders to drop by 2.0 percent compared to the 2.8 percent jump that had been reported for the previous month.

A report released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed a much bigger than expected improvement in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of February. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped to 130.8 in February from a downwardly revised 124.3 in January.

Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to edge up to 126.4 from the 125.4 originally reported for the previous month.

The dollar has climbed to a 2-week high of $1.2245 against the Euro Tuesday afternoon, from an early low of $1.2346.

Eurozone economic confidence dropped to a 3-month low in February on broad-based weakness across sectors excluding services.

The economic sentiment index fell to 114.1 in February from 114.9 in the previous month, survey data from the European Commission showed Tuesday. This was the lowest since last November, but slightly above the expected score of 114.

Germany's headline consumer price inflation slowed for a third straight month in February and at a faster-than-expected pace, to its lowest level since November 2016, preliminary data showed Tuesday. The consumer price index rose 1.4 percent year-on-year following 1.6 percent increase in January, the flash estimates from Destatis showed. Economists had forecast 1.5 percent inflation.

French consumer confidence weakened more than expected in February, after stabilizing in the previous month, survey data from the statistical office Insee showed Tuesday. The consumer sentiment index dropped to its long-term average of 100 in February from 104 in January. Economists had expected the index to fall to 103.

The buck rose to a high of $1.3856 against the pound sterling Tuesday, but has since eased back to around $1.3925.

The greenback reached a high of Y107.673 against the Japanese Yen Tuesday, but has since retreated to around Y107.340.

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