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Dollar Drifts Lower As Fed Holds Rate

The U.S. dollar drifted down against rivals on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and the Fed chair Jerome Powell said he would not consider raising rates until inflation picks up significantly.

Economic projections provided by the Fed along with the decision show a majority of FOMC participants expect interest rates to remain unchanged throughout 2020.

"In order to move rates up, I would want to see inflation that's persistent and that's significant," Powell said. "A significant move up in inflation that's also persistent before raising rates to address inflation concerns. That's my view."

However, Powell noted his comments do reflect "official forward guidance," adding, "It happens to be my view that that's what it would take to want to move interest rates up in order to deal with inflation."

The dollar index eased to a low of 97.04 and edged up subsequently to 97.11, but was still down more than 0.3% from previous close.

Against the euro, the dollar weakened to 1.1137, down from previous close of 1.1094 a unit of euro.

Against pound sterling, the dollar dropped to 1.3195. Late on Tuesday, the dollar was trading at 1.3155 a sterling.

The Japanese Yen strengthened to 108.55 a dollar from 108.71 a dollar.

The Aussie was up more than 1% with the AUD-USD pair trading at 0.6880.

Against Swiss franc and the loonie, the dollar was notably lower at 0.9825 and 1.3178, respectively.

After three consecutive interest rate cuts, the Federal Reserve today announced its widely expected decision to leave rates unchanged.

The Fed said its Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1.5 to 1.75% on the heels of three straight quarter-point reductions.

The FOMC judged that the current stance of monetary policy is appropriate to support a sustained economic expansion, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near its symmetric 2% objective.

The central bank maintained its assessment of the economy, reiterating that recent data indicates the labor market remains strong and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate.

The FOMC noted it will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook, including global developments and muted inflation pressures, as it assesses the appropriate path for rates.

Earlier in the day, a report released by the Labor Department showed consumer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of November.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.3% in November after climbing by 0.4% in October. Economists had expected prices to edge up by 0.2%.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices crept up by 0.2% in November, matching the uptick seen in the previous month as well as economist estimates.

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