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NEW YORK: The dollar fell on Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a moderately dovish stance, contrary to market expectations, saying that given how credit condition have tightened, the US central bank may not need raise interest rates as much.

Tighter credit conditions mean that “our policy rate may not need to rise as much as it would have otherwise to achieve our goals,” Powell said at a central bank conference in Washington.

“Powell was not overtly dovish, but he definitely was not hawkish,” said Erik Bregar, director, FX & precious metals risk management, at Silver Gold Bull in Toronto.

“So you’re seeing bond market cover hawkish bets, same thing with FX. This derails upside momentum in the dollar going into the weekend.”

Fed officials this week have more or less pushed against rate-pause bets for June given persistently high inflation.

Following Powell’s comments, the rate futures market has priced in a roughly 21% chance that the Fed raises the benchmark rate at its June meeting by 25 basis points, with the majority of traders factoring in a pause. The rate-hike bet was nearly 40% before the Fed chairman spoke.

The dollar index fell 0.24% to 103.08, after hitting seven-week peaks the previous session. On the week, the dollar posted a 0.6% gain.

The dollar slid 0.7% against the yen to 137.76 yen, having risen to a six-month peak of 138.745 earlier.

At the same time, negotiations between US House of Representatives Republicans and Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration about lifting the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling have been paused, the lead Republican negotiator said while the White House said a deal remains possible.

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