The slumping dollar hit a new record low against the Swiss franc and extended its recent losses versus the euro on Tuesday, as the markets braced for a pivotal interest rate announcement from the Federal Reserve.
While the Fed is widely expected to keep its benchmark rate at effectively zero on Wednesday, policy makers may signal they are prepared to allow their $600 billion asset purchase plan to expire in June.
For the first time, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will conduct a post-decision press conference.
The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its decision in a statement on 12:30 p.m ET, followed by Bernanke’s Q and A at around 2 p.m.
In the meantime, the dollar remained on defense versus a number of major rivals.
The buck slid to a fresh 17-month low of $1.4657 versus the euro, and hit a record low of CHF 0.8775 versus the Swiss franc.
The buck remained five cents below par versus Canada’s loonie, having touched a 3-year low of C$0.9453 last week.
Early losses took the buck to Y81.60 versus the yen. In March, the dollar hit a record low of Y76.30.
In economic news from the U.S., the Conference Board released a report on Tuesday showing that confidence rebounded by more than anticipated in April. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 65.4 in April from an upwardly revised 63.8 in March.
Home prices in the U.S. showed another notable decrease in the month of February, according to a report released by Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday, with prices falling by slightly more than economists had been anticipating.
The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in February compared to a 3.1 percent year-over-year decrease in January.