U.S dollar inches up; Fed’s Williams’ comments in focus

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The U.S. dollar inched up on Friday in Asia even after Federal Reserve officials bolstered expectations of an aggressive rate cut this month.

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies was up 0.1% to 96.507 by 1:20 AM ET (05:20 GMT).

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams (NYSE:WMB) said in a speech that the Fed will “act quickly” to support the economy as “it’s better to take preventative measures than to wait for disaster to unfold.”

The New York Fed clarified later that Williams’ speech were not indicative of the central bank’s future moves, but investors still took his remarks as a dovish signal from the central bank.

Separately, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida told Fox Business Network the central bank might have to act early and not wait “until things get so bad”.

Data showed that business activity in the Mid-Atlantic has jumped to 21.8 in July, which is its strongest level in a year, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

A figure above zero suggests the region’s business activity is growing.

Meanwhile a separate report showed that while unemployment claims rose slightly last week, the labor market still remained strong. Initial jobless claims rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended July 13, the Labor Department said, while data for the prior week was revised down by 1,000.

The USD/JPY pair was up 0.3% to 107.61.

The AUD/USD pair and the NZD/USD pair both dropped 0.1%.

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