Australian Dollar Plunges Ahead of Fed’s Monetary Policy

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The Aussie held weaker in a light data day in Asia on Friday with investors in wait-and-watch mode on U.S. interest rates.

AUD/USD traded at 0.7269, down 0.16%, while USD/JPY changed hands at 121.65, up 0.05%.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.02% to 97.89.

Overnight, the dollar held gains against the other major currencies on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose more than expected last week, as hopes for a U.S. rate hike next week continued to support demand for the greenback.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending December 4 increased by 13,000 to 282,000 from the previous week’s total of 269,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to hold steady at 269,000 last week.

Demand for the dollar continued to be underpinned by expectations that the Fed is on track to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006 at its upcoming meeting on December 15-16.

Higher interest rates would make the dollar more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

The euro remained supported however, after the latest round of easing announced by the European Central Bank fell well short of market expectations.

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