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Dollar Edges Higher; Fed Minutes, Chairman Choice in Focus

The dollar traded higher Monday, testing the highs of last week as the euro suffered from growing anxiety over the impact of surging Covid-19 infections in Europe.

At 2:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.1% higher at 96.153, just shy of last week's 16-month high of 96.266.

USD/JPY rose 0.2% to 114.22, GBP/USD edged lower to 1.3448, and the risk-sensitive AUD/USD rose 0.3% to 0.7253.

The dollar received a boost on Friday after comments by Federal Reserve officials Richard Clarida and Christopher Waller pointed to the potential of a faster pace of stimulus tapering amid a robust recovery and heated inflation.

The foreign exchange market has become fixated on the Fed’s timetable for phasing out its bond purchases as a shorter phase-out raises the possibility of earlier interest rate increases.

Currently the market is priced for the U.S. central bank to start hiking rates by the middle of next year.

“We find increasing evidence of a new leg of inflationary pressures in the U.S., increasing our conviction of a hawkish shift from the Fed during 2022,” said analysts at Nordea, in a note.

The Fed will publish the minutes of its November meeting, in which policymakers decided the U.S. economy was strong enough to start scaling back its pandemic-era asset purchase

program, on Wednesday.

The same day sees a massive data dump, including the core PCE price index, rumored to be the Fed’s favored inflation gauge, while a lot of attention will be on whether the White House decides to keep incumbent Fed Chair Jerome Powell in place for another term or promote current Fed Governor Lael Brainard.

Elsewhere, EUR/USD fell 0.2% to 1.1265, to a new 16-month low as Austria became the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full national lockdown to combat the Covid-19 virus.

Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, with Germany, Europe's largest economy, refusing to rule out the possibility of another lockdown on Friday, and riots breaking out in Belgium and the Netherlands over the introduction of more restrictions.

USD/TRY fell 0.3% to 11.1960, with the lira attempting to rebound after suffering one of its worst days in three years on Thursday after the central bank cut interest rates again despite rocketing inflation.

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