NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar slipped on Wednesday, after minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until they see evidence that a recent economic slowdown was transitory.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major rivals, was down 0.17 percent to 97.184, after falling as low as 97.093.
The minutes were the latest indication of the Fed’s heightened caution over policy tightening since the central bank began lifting rates from near zero in December 2015.
Nearly all policymakers at the May 2-3 meeting also said they favoured starting the wind-down of the Fed’s massive holdings of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities this year.
“The minutes show that the Fed is going to be cautious and is in no rush to adopt a hawkish tone with respect to their balance sheet,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst for Think Markets.
Federal funds futures imply traders still see a high probability of a U.S. rate hike in June at 83 percent, but traders are now pricing a 46 percent chance of the Fed raising rates twice more by year-end, down from about 50 percent late Tuesday.
The dollar hit a more than 6-1/2-month low on Monday as worries over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent firing of FBI Director James Comey and concerns about possible delays in Trump’s efforts to implement his economic stimulus plans pressured the greenback.
“We are not going to see any massive move to the downside for the dollar, but upside is very limited unless economic data starts to pick up massively,” Aslam said.
The euro, which has enjoyed a bull run this month on factors including an ebb in French political concerns and upbeat euro zone data, was up 0.2 percent against the greenback at $1.1204.
Canada’s dollar strengthened to a one-month high against its U.S. counterpart after the Bank of Canada was more upbeat about the economy than some investors expected and as major oil producers looked set to possibly extend production cuts.
Earlier, Moody’s Investors Services downgraded China’s long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings by a notch, citing expectations that the financial strength of the world’s second-biggest economy would erode in the coming years.
China’s offshore yuan slipped in a knee-jerk reaction but the overall response was limited.
Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Chris Reese