The U.S. dollar stayed firm against most of its peers on Wednesday as oil prices climbed higher on concerns about supply disruptions, and on reports U.S. President Joe Biden is likely to impose fresh sanctions on Russia.
Biden is scheduled to meet NATO and EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday. According to reports, the new sanctions from the U.S. might include measures targeting Russian members of parliament.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently hinted at tighter monetary policy from the central bank.
“We will take the necessary steps to ensure a return to price stability,” Powell said in remarks to the National Association for Business Economics on Monday. “In particular, if we conclude that it is appropriate to move more aggressively by raising the federal funds rate by more than 25 basis points at upcoming meetings, we will do so.”
He added, “And if we determine that we need to tighten beyond common measures of neutral and into a more restrictive stance, we will do that as well.”
Data released by the Commerce Department today showed a continued decrease in new home sales in the month of February. The report showed new home sales slumped by 2% to an annual rate of 772,000 in February after plunging by 8.4% to a revised rate of 788,000 in January.
The continued decline surprised economists, who had expected new home sales to jump by 1.1% to a rate of 810,000 from the 801,000 originally reported for the previous month.
The dollar index climbed to 98.88 before paring some gains. Still, at 98.65, the index is up by about 0.15% from the previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1010, firming from $1.1030.
The dollar is trading at $1.3211 against Pound Sterling, gaining from $1.3262.
Against the Japanese currency, the dollar has shed ground, fetching 121.12 yen a dollar, as against 120.80 yen on Tuesday.
Against the Aussie, the dollar is down nearly 0.5% at 0.7506.
The Swiss franc is firmer at CHF 0.9307 a dollar, gaining from CHF 0.9330, while the Loonie is trading at 1.2563 a gollar, up marginally from 1.2573.