Dollar recovers ¥113 for first time in six months

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On Tuesday and Wednesday, Powell said in congressional testimony he believed the United States was on course for years more of steady growth, and he carefully played down the risks to the usa economy of an escalating trade conflict. But in written testimony to the Senate Banking Committee and in his response to questions about a possible "trade war", Powell largely discounted the risks.

The White House struggled on Wednesday to contain a political outcry and confusion over Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying Trump ever meant to say that Moscow was no longer targeting the United States.

But the latest inflation figures were surprisingly low, backing an argument by Investec economist Annabel Bishop earlier in the week that Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago could be less hawkish in tone when he delivers the rates decision on Thursday. Wage growth is starting to pick up.

"Our challenge will be to keep it there", Powell said, referring to the central bank's 2% inflation target. "But nonetheless, it has significant effects on the economy".

For the Aussie Dollar, there were no surprises in the RBA meeting minutes, as the RBA continued to focus on tepid wage growth and household debt that continues to raise concerns over domestic consumption, with any rise in borrowing costs expected to be a negative for the economy in general. It raised rates once in 2015, once in 2016 and then three times a year ago as the economy has begun to gain momentum.

For now, central bankers believe the American economy is robust enough to stay on course.

Powell said it was hard to predict the ultimate outcome of US trade policy, as well as the size and timing of the effects of the Republican tax cuts passed a year ago.

But senators of both parties during the question-and-answer session tried to draw the Fed chairman into the political debate by pressing him on trade. Beijing has retaliated in kind.

"(Powell) suggested that they're keeping an eye on trade developments and people are looking at that as a signal that they may moderate their rate increases if they see some signs of danger", said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. "It's hard to know how this is going to turn out".

"The economy is still good and interest rate still up, so that's good for the U.S. dollar and negative for gold for the time being".

"In general, countries that have remained open to trade, that haven't erected barriers including tariffs, have grown faster".

"The solid pace of growth so far this year is based on several factors", Powell said.

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