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The Dollar Index traded at almost its highest level in six months as service industries in the U.S. expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, adding to signs of economic acceleration.
The U.S. currency was supported after the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index exceeded forecasts, fueling speculation the Federal Reserve may have scope to reduce monetary stimulus earlier than projected.
The Institute of Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index increased to 56 last month from 55.2 in January, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said. Economists projected the guage would be little changed at 55, according to the median estimate. Readings above 50 signal expansion.
Australia’s currency climbed versus the dollar as the central bank kept interest rates on hold. Governor Glenn Stevens said in a statement that growth in 2012 was led by “very large increases in capital spending in the resources sector,” while reiterating that the inflation outlook “would afford scope to ease policy further, should that be necessary.”
The euro exchange rate fluctuates against the dollar after data showed that business activity in the euro area services sector declined in February compared with January, adding evidence that the region's economy will continue to be liquefied in the first three months of the year, which could be the fourth quarterly drop in a row. In addition, it was reported that retail sales rose by 1.2% on a monthly basis, fully compensate for the decline of 0.8% in December, which was revised from 0.9% decline.
The pound rose against the dollar before the euro after a report showed that the UK services sector expanded in February, showing a more rapid pace than analysts had forecast that downgraded the speculation as to whether the Bank of England will increase the incentive program.
The focus of investors are the most important meeting of the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, which will be held later in the week.
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