AUD/USD traded at 0.9358, down 0.11%, after the National Australia Bank’s second quarter survey of business confidence showing a gain of 6 points, down from plus-7 in the first quarter and business conditions up 1 point from flat in the first quarter.
USD/JPY traded at 101.58, down 0.11%, with no major releases scheduled.
Overnight, the dollar carried gains against most major currencies into Wednesday on Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s comments to U.S. lawmakers that the economy is improving despite slack in the labor market and added rates could rise sooner if that slackness continues to wane.
Yellen told lawmakers in a Tuesday hearing that interest rates could rise sooner rather than later if the labor market continues to improve, especially given her observations that small-cap, biotech and other momentum stock valuations appear “stretched” these days.
Yellen was set to appear before the House of Representatives later Wednesday, though the dollar already priced in Fed expectations for rates to rise sooner if the economy improves or remain on hold if slackness persists, while stimulus programs should wrap up around October.
The dollar also firmed on the news that U.S. wholesale prices rose more than expected in June.
The U.S. producer price index rose by 0.4% in June from May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, beating market calls for a 0.2% uptick.
Core producers prices rose 0.2%, in line with market expectations.
Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. industrial output rose 0.2% in June, missing consensus forecasts for a 0.4% reading, which capped the dollar’s gains.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.06% at 80.57.
On Thursday, the U.S. to publish reports on initial jobless claims, housing starts, building permits, and the Philly Fed manufacturing index.