The U.S. dollar was weak against most major currencies on Tuesday as it was continued to be weighed down by claims by biotechnology firm Moderna Inc. about positive results from an its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273.
The company said the vaccination in humans showed immune response and added that it is planning to begin additional trials soon and is aiming to be ready for potential emergency use of its vaccine this fall.
The market was also reacting to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee.
Powell reaffirmed the central bank will provide more support to the economy. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee today, Powell said the central bank needs to be prepared to “act further and I would say we are, if the need is there.”
“As a society, we should do everything we can to provide relief to those who are suffering for the public good,” Powell said.
The dollar index, which slipped to 99.23 in early trades, pared most of its losses as the session progressed, and was last seen at 99.57, down marginally from previous close.
Against the euro, the dollar recovered to $1.0924 from an early low of $1.0978, but was still trailing its previous close.
The dollar was weak at $1.2241 against pound sterling, despite recovering from $1.2296. Against the Japanese currency, it eased to 107.70, after fetching 108.08 yen on Monday.
The Aussie was trading at 0.6531, after moving between 0.6525 and 0.6585.
The Swiss franc was little changed at 0.9716 a dollar, while the loonie was at C$1.3941 a dollar, compared to C$1.3937 a day earlier.
According to the data from the Commerce Department, new residential construction in the U.S. dropped in the month of April.
The report said housing starts plummeted by 30.2% to an annual rate of 891,000 in April after tumbling by 18.6% to a revised 1.276 million in March.
Economists had expected housing stocks to plunge by 23.8% to a rate of 927,000 from the 1.216 million originally reported for the previous month.
The Commerce Department said building permits also slumped by 20.8% to an annual rate of 1.074 million in April after falling by 5.7% to a revised 1.356 million in March. Economists had expected building permits to nosedive by 26.1% to a rate of 1 million from the 1.353 million originally reported for the previous month.
The UK jobless claims rose at a record pace in April as lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, or Covid-19, took its toll on labor market, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday.
The number of jobless claims increased by a record 856,500 to hit 2.096 million in April. The claimant count rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 5.8% from 3.5 percent a month ago.
The increase was limited by government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is currently paying wages to about 7.5 million people.