Investors were eyeing the conclusion of the Fed’s two day policy meeting later Wednesday, with most investors expecting no change given recent signs of weakness in the global economy.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that housing starts rose 5.2% in February to hit 1.178 million units from January’s total of 1.120 million units, an upward revision from the initial 1.099 million. Analysts had expected a rise 4.6% to 1.150 million.
Likewise, the number of building permits issued declined 3.1% to 1.202 million units last month from January’s 1.204 million, above expectations for a 0.1% fall to 1.167 million units in February.
Another report released earlier in the day, revealed that the U.S. producer price index dropped 0.2% in February, in accordance with expectations.
On a year over year basis, producer prices remained unchanged, compared to forecasts for a rise of 0.1%, but consumer prices were 1.0% higher, above expectations for a 0.9% increase.
Similarly, core CPI, excluding food and energy, fell by 0.2% in February, matching expectations and following a flat reading in January.
Meanwhile, the dollar gained 0.44% against the Japanese yen, with USD/JPY to trade at 113.65.
However the single currency slipped 0.20% against the dollar, with EUR/USD to trade at 1.1086.
The greenback was higher against the Sterling pound and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD down 0.49% at 1.4083 and with USD/CHF rising 0.20% to 0.9891.In line with expectations, the U.K. Office for National Statistics announce today that the unemployment rate held at 5.1% in the three months to January.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars turned lower, with AUD/USD down 0.42% at 0.7427 and with NZD/USD shedding 0.26% to 0.6583.
The U.S. dollar rose 0.25% against its Canadian counterpart, with USD/CAD to trade at 1.3389. On Wednesday, the statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales growth by 2.3% in January, beating expectations for a 0.5% gain. Manufacturing sales rose 1.4% in December, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 1.2% increase.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.31% at 96.95, the highest since March 10.