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Dollar Maintains Gains After Fed Minutes Point to Tapering

The dollar maintained a strong tone in early European trade Thursday after the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting indicated that the world’s most influential central bank is moving towards tightening monetary policy.

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 92.720, just below Wednesday’s three-month peak of 92.844.

USD/JPY was down 0.4% at 110.19, EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.1797, after falling to a three-month low of 1.1781 overnight, GBP/USD fell 0.2% to 1.3769, while the risk-sensitive AUD/USD fell 0.5% to 0.7440.

Traders had been waiting for the release of the minutes from the Fed’s June meeting as this was the gettogether at which the central bank hinted at two rate hikes in 2023, and signaled a greater likelihood of a first raise coming as early as 2022.

While the minutes showed the policymakers generally agreed that the conditions to begin scaling back its monthly bond purchases had not yet been reached, some of the group indicated that they could be "met somewhat earlier than they had anticipated at previous meetings in light of incoming data."

“U.S. policy-makers are growing more comfortable with the idea of reducing asset purchases, and an announcement could be made as quickly as the fourth quarter of 2021,” said Kathy Lien, an analyst at BK Asset Management.

U.S. economic data has generally pointed to a strong economic recovery, and Thursday’s focus will be on the weekly unemployment data., due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT).

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week is seen dropping by 14,000 to 350,000, to a new pandemic-era low. Additionally, continuing jobless claims by individuals qualifying for unemployment insurance are seen falling by 134,000 to 3.335 million.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank is set to announce the outcome of a 18-month strategy review at 1100 GMT, with the central bank expected to raise its inflation goal to 2%, from “below,

but close to, 2%”, as well as describing the target as symmetric.

Also, USD/CNY rose 0.1% to 6.4786, climbing to a near one-week high after China’s State Council, the country's cabinet, said authorities would use timely cuts in banks' reserve requirement ratios to support the economy. This has been taken by the market as a strong easing signal.

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