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Dollar gets boost from Yellen, Congress

The US dollar pushed higher on Tuesday, helped by new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's promise of policy continuity and a Republican offer to raise the US debt ceiling.

NEW YORK: The US dollar pushed higher on Tuesday, helped by new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's promise of policy continuity and a Republican offer to raise the US debt ceiling.

Both events calmed market fears that the US growth pickup could be derailed by unexpected Fed policy shifts and Congress's refusal to increase the ceiling, which could force the country to default on financial commitments by the end of this month.

The dollar swung wildly after Yellen, in her first comments on monetary policy since becoming Fed chair at the beginning of February, said economic growth would continue steadily this year and inflation remain tame, but that the jobs market remained a worry.

The greenback finally settled higher at 2200 GMT the euro was at $1.3638, compared to $1.3642 late Monday. The euro had climbed to $1.3683 before Yellen began discussing policy at the Financial Services Committee of the House of Representatives.

The dollar climbed to 102.64 yen from 102.18, but it fell against the British currency, with the pound moving to $1.6451 from $1.6401.

Yellen said Fed policymakers were still comfortable with their forecasts of moderate growth this year and next, despite the poor job creation figures of the past two months.

Asked whether the recent jobs data would slow the taper of the now $65 billion a month bond buying stimulus program, she cautioned that it was "very important to not jump to conclusions." She said that it might it eventually prove that severe winter storms had tamped down hiring.

"It's important for us to take our time to assess what the significance of this is," she said.

Her testimony sent US bond yields higher, the 10-year Treasury pushing to 2.72 per cent from 2.68 per cent.

The euro rose to 139.99 yen from 139.46 yen.

The dollar climbed to 0.8983 Swiss franc from 0.8969 franc.

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