April 5, 2017 / 1:01 AM / 3 years ago

Dollar falls from three-week high after Fed minutes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar tumbled from three-week highs on Wednesday, as minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting suggested the outlook for interest rates had not changed from what the Fed indicated last month after its rate hike decision.

A picture illustration shows U.S. 100 dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Traders also said there was a bit of profit-taking in the greenback toward the end of the session especially in the dollar-yen currency pair. A break of support at 111 yen triggered stops all the way to 100.70 yen, they added.

The market was a bit surprised by Fed comments saying that reducing the balance sheet this year would be warranted. Overall, those remarks were viewed as negative for the dollar, analysts said.

In the minutes, the Fed said it should take steps to begin trimming its $4.5 trillion balance sheet later this year as long as economic data holds up.

“While the balance sheet commentary was a bit more hawkish than expected, the outlook for rates was more in line with what we had before,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

“If anything, modifying the balance sheet reduces the need for higher rates. That may be weighing on the dollar a little bit.”

In late trading, the dollar was down 0.1 percent against the yen at 110.66 yen.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six peers, fell 0.1 percent at 100.45, after hitting a three-week high.

The euro was slightly higher at $1.0677.

The dollar drew early support from data showing U.S. private sector employers created more jobs than expected in March, suggesting a generally stable labour market.

U.S. private employers added 263,000 jobs in March, more than their hirings in February and well above economists’ expectations, a report by a payroll processor showed on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report to show a gain of 187,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 110,000 to 225,000.

Before the data’s release, the market had been rattled by political tension arising from an upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Trump’s consistently harsh rhetoric on China has raised concerns about Thursday’s summit, and some also worry that Trump’s failure to pass a healthcare overhaul will mean rough sledding as he tries to implement the rest of his promised pro-growth policies.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by David Gregorio

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