US dollar rises against major currencies

New York, Nov 18 (IANS) The US dollar increased against other major currencies as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is close to raising interest rates recently.

In late New York trading on Thursday, the euro fell to $1.0629 from $1.0670, and the British pound dipped to $1.2418 from $1.2433, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Australian dollar slipped to $0.7412 from $0.7477.

The dollar bought 109.91 Japanese yen, higher than 109.35 yen in the previous session.

The dollar inched up to 1.0067 Swiss francs from 1.0039 Swiss francs, and it rose to 1.3494 Canadian dollars from 1.3431 Canadian dollars.

A rate hike “could well become appropriate relatively soon if incoming data provide some further evidence of continued progress toward the committee’s objectives,” Yellen said in a testimony before Congress’s Joint Economic Committee on Thursday.

Yellen’s words well bolstered market speculation for an interest rate-hike in Fed’s upcoming December meeting.

On the economic front, US privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.323 million units, the Commerce Department announced on Thursday.

This is 25.5 per cent above the revised September estimate of 1.054 million units, and is 23.3 per cent above the October 2015 rate of 1.073 million units.

In the week ending November 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 235,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 254,000, according to the Labor Department.

The Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers increased 0.4 per cent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, on par with market consensus.

Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 1.6 per cent before seasonal adjustment.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major peers, was up 0.47 per cent to 100.880 in late trading.