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Forex - U.S. Dollar Inches Up After Fed Holds Rates Unchanged as Expected

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The U.S. dollar inched up on Thursday in Asia after the Federal Reserve said it will hold its benchmark rates steady as expected.

The U.S. dollar index inched up 0.1% to 97.875 by 1:20 AM ET (05:20 GMT).

The central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee said it will hold the rates between 1.5% and 1.75%. It was the second straight meeting the Fed made no changes to rates following three rate cuts in 2019.

During his post-meeting news conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed“wanted to underscore our commitment to 2% not being a ceiling, to inflation running symmetrically around 2% and we’re not satisfied with inflation running below 2%.”

"We expect (reserves to reach an ample level) during the second quarter and our plan, as we do that, is as those purchases get to that level we believe we can gradually reduce them and we believe we can also gradually reduce repo as we reach an ample level," he added.

The decision came just hours after data showed weaker-than-expected housing activity.

The National Association of Realtors' measure of pending home sales unexpectedly fell 4.9% to 103.2 in December. That was the biggest decline since May 2010.

The GBP/USD pair was little changed at 1.3013. The Bank of England is expected to hold rates unchanged later in the day.

The AUD/USD pair fell 0.2% to 0.6739, while the NZD/USD pair was also down 0.2% to 0.6509.

The safe-haven yen traded slightly higher against the U.S. dollar as Asian stocks fell amid coronavirus concerns.

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