The dollar was firm on Monday, approaching its highest in almost two months versus a basket of major rivals amid rising confidence that lawmakers will raise the U.S. debt ceiling. Ratings agencies have warned that the nation’s credit rating could drop unless a deal is reached by August 2.
Meanwhile, European officials continue to haggle over the role of the private sector in a bailout for Greece.
Germany and the International Monetary Fund say that private lenders should accept some of the burden of the rescue, while the European Central Bank has warned about the impact on the region’s fragile banking sector.
“All over the world, the best private sector involvement is foreign direct investments, privatization and going back as soon as possible to spontaneous market financing,” ECB President Trichet said.
European Council president Herman Van Rompuy has convened a meeting of the Eurozone Heads of State or Government in Brussels on Thursday.
The dollar got a modest lift from news that homebuilder confidence has improved by more than anticipated in the month of July.
The National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index rose two points to a reading of 15 in July after falling three points to a reading of 13 in June.
The dollar was steady near $1.4050 versus the euro, holding its gains from the previous session and staying near last week’s 4-month high of $1.3826.
Early gains took the dollar to $1.6010 versus the sterling, and the dollar crept away from a record low against the Swiss franc to trade at CHF 0.8180.
The buck was little changed at Y79 versus the yen after slipping to a 4-month low last week.
Looking ahead on the U.S. economic calendar, the markets may closely watch the Commerce Department’s housing starts report for June, the National Association of Realtors’ existing home sales report for June and the National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index for July.
Additionally, the weekly jobless claims report and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing survey for July could also draw traders’ attention.