U.S. dollar stays nearly flat ahead of Fed rates decision

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NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) — The U.S. dollar ended nearly flat in late trading on Tuesday, as traders awaited the U.S. central bank interest rate decisions this week, including one by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, decreased 0.04 percent to 105.1584 in late trading.

Traders expect the Fed to keep rates on hold at its upcoming meeting, according to the CME FedWatch tool, though focus will be on the central bank’s forward guidance.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly announced on Tuesday the new residential construction statistics for August.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,543,000, which was 6.9 percent above the revised July rate of 1,443,000, but 2.7 percent below the August 2022 rate of 1,586,000.

“August’s home construction data appear to be showing some cracks in the armor of what has been one of the few strong indicators in the housing market recently,” said Daniel Vielhaber, an economist at Nationwide.

Housing starts tumbled 11.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.283 million units last month, the lowest level since June 2020.

Meanwhile, Canada’s annual inflation rate in August jumped to 4.0 percent from 3.3 percent in July on higher gasoline prices, data showed on Tuesday.

The Canadian dollar gained traction after the Canadian consumer prices index showed elevated inflation on both core and headline prints. In late New York trading, the U.S. dollar decreased to 1.3442 Canadian dollars from 1.3496 Canadian dollars.

The euro fell to 1.0677 U.S. dollars from 1.0679 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound rose to 1.2391 U.S. dollars from 1.2376 dollars.

The U.S. dollar bought 147.8450 Japanese yen, higher than 147.7270 Japanese yen of the previous session. The U.S. dollar rose to 0.8982 Swiss francs from 0.8978 Swiss francs, and it was down to 11.1520 Swedish krona from 11.1694 Swedish krona.

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