The U.S. dollar hit its lowest level against the euro in nearly seven weeks on Wednesday following dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that pushed out expectations for the central bank’s next interest rate hike.
The euro advanced to $1.1364, its highest against the dollar since Feb. 11, while the dollar hit a more than five-month low against the Swiss franc at 0.9592 franc.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of six major rivals, hit its lowest level in 12 days at 94.588 after posting its biggest one-day percentage decline since March 17 on Tuesday.
The ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. private employers added 200,000 jobs in March, above economists’ expectations. The data came ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s more comprehensive March non-farm jobs report on Friday.
While the ADP data beat economists’ forecast for 194,000 jobs according to a Reuters poll, the data was not enough to halt the negative sentiment toward the dollar a day after Yellen stressed the need to be cautious in raising rates.
“It’s going to take more than one ADP number that was just okay to overcome Yellen’s dovish comments,” said Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets in St. Louis.
The dollar was on track to post its biggest quarterly percentage decline in five years, and was last down 4% for the first quarter.
The dollar’s losses accelerated against the euro after traders “covered” or repurchased “short” bets against the euro once it crossed $1.1335, said Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange in New York.
The Australian dollar, which is closely correlated with commodity prices, soared to a roughly nine-month high of $0.7709 as oil prices – which are U.S. dollar-denominated – rose and became cheaper for holders of other currencies.
U.S. crude was last up 2.8% at $39.36 a barrel.
Against the yen, the dollar was last down 0.2% at 112.45 yen after touching an eight-day low of 112.02 yen earlier.