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NEW YORK: The dollar edged up to a three-week high against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as traders await clues in Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony before Congress and minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting on possible rate cuts.

The greenback has strengthened versus most major currencies in the aftermath of a government report last Friday that showed surprisingly strong domestic hiring in June.

The 224,000 job gain last month scaled back bets the US central bank would embark on a deep 50-basis point rate decrease at the end of the month, although traders are still positioned for a more modest 25 basis-point decrease.

Amid US President Donald Trump's browbeating, Fed policy-makers may eventually relent and lower borrowing costs due to modest wage growth and sluggish domestic inflation.

"Yes, it reduces the need for an immediate interest-rate cut, but it doesn't eliminate it," said Kathy Lien and Boris Schlossberg, managing directors of FX strategy at BK Asset Management wrote in a research note.

Interest rates futures implied traders now only see a 7.0% chance of a 50-basis point rate cut at the end of July, down from 25% a week earlier, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

Ahead of Friday's jobs report, speculators shrank their bullish bets on the dollar to their lowest level since July 2018, based on US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released late on Monday.

At 10:35 a.m. (1435 GMT), the index that tracks the greenback against six other major currencies was up 0.12% at 97.505 after touching 97.588, which was the highest since June 19.

Further gains for the dollar hinge on any clues on possible rate cuts in Powell's two-part testimony before Congress that begins on Wednesday, and in the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's previous meeting last month.

"This week's FOMC minutes should remind us of the extent of the central bank's dovishness. Their concerns centre around trade and inflation," BK's Lien and Schlossberg said.

Against the dollar, the euro dipped -0.09% to $1.1204 after hitting $1.1194, which was the lowest in early three weeks.

The greenback edged up 0.11% to 108.850 yen.

The nomination of IMF Chairwoman Christine Lagarde as the new head of the European Central Bank has stoked traders' worries that the ECB would be inclined to ease monetary policy faster than its US counterpart.

Elsewhere, the British pound dropped to a new six-month low of $1.2457, with Brexit jitters and growing expectations of a BoE rate cut adding to sterling's weakness. Excluding January's "flash crash", the currency is close to lows last seen in April 2017.

Copyright Reuters, 2019