The Australian dollar edged higher against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, after the release of mixed Australian data, while the New Zealand dollar held steady as investors eyed the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting due later in the day.
AUD/USD edged up 0.16% to 0.7687, the highest since February 17.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier reported that construction work done fell 0.2% in the fourth quarter, compared to expectations for a 0.3% rise.
Data also showed that the wage price index increased by 0.5% in the last quarter, in line with expectations.
NZD/USD held steady at 0.7158.
The greenback had strengthened after Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said late Monday that she would be “comfortable” raising interest rates at this point as inflation pressures pick up.
But Minneapolis Fed head Neel Kashkari on Tuesday said the U.S. labor market has “more room to run,” indicating that he does not believe the central bank should raise rates quickly.
The comments came after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week that a rate increase would be appropriate at one of the Fed’s forthcoming meetings.
Investors were eyeing the minutes from the Fed’s January meeting, due later Wednesday, for further indications on the pace of rate hikes.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was little changed at 101.49.