NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. dollar rose against most major currencies on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced it would start tapering the quantitative easing from January 2014.
After a two-day policy meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the decision making arm of the Fed, announced a reduction of its asset-purchasing program from 85 billion dollars to 750 billion dollars beginning from January.
Specifically, the FOMC would trim agency mortgage-backed securities purchases from 40 billion dollars to 35 billion dollars per month, and the buying pace of longer-term treasury securities will be slowed from 45 billion dollars to 40 billion dollars per month.
The FOMC said if incoming information broadly supports the FOMC 's expectation of improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective, it will likely further reduce the pace of asset purchases at future meetings.
Boosted by asset purchases cut, the dollar rallied and reached a five-year high against the yen following the announcement, but slipped against the euro as the Fed indicated it may also keep the ultra low interest rate for longer period of time than previously promised.
Adding more pressure to the yen, official data showed Japan's trade deficit for November widened to 1.35 trillion yen on a seasonally adjusted basis.
However, the pound jumped against the dollar after falling for five straight days as Britain's unemployment fell to 7.4 percent in the three months through October, increasing speculation that the Bank of England may raise interest rates sooner than it planned.
On the economic front, U.S. privately-owned housing starts climbed 22.7 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual level of 1,091,000, the highest since February 2008, said the Commerce Department on Wednesday.
In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3751 dollars from 1.3767 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound jumped to 1.6422 dollars from 1.6265 dollars. The Australian dollar slipped to 0.8872 dollar from 0.8898 dollar.
The dollar bought 103.60 Japanese yen, higher than 102.67 yen of the previous session. The greenback moved up to 0.8884 Swiss franc from 0.8850 and went up to 1.0659 Canadian dollars from 1. 0614.