A drive for safe assets drove the dollar and yen higher Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economic outlook in the U.S. was "unusually uncertain."
Bernanke said the Fed was prepared to take new steps to stimulate the economy and keep the recovery on track. But he also indicated that those actions, which could weigh on the dollar, were not likely in the near future.
"Anyone hoping for a signal that the Fed was preparing to provide some further monetary stimulus to boost the flagging U.S. recovery would have been sorely disappointed," said Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
In late trading in New York, the euro slid to $1.2745 from 1.2895 late Tuesday. The British pound dropped to $1.5147 from $1.5263, while the dollar fell to 86.93 Japanese yen from 87.21 yen, hovering just above its weakest point versus the Japanese currency this year.
The yen is also considered a safe haven by currency traders.
In other trading, the dollar rose to 1.0514 Swiss francs from 1.0504 francs and 1.0496 Canadian dollars from 1.0471 Canadian dollars. It also rose against the Australian and New Zealand dollars.
"The dollar is back to being the beneficiary as risk appetite dries up," said Win Thin, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
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