The dollar rose on Wednesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve meeting minutes for insight into the central bank's interest rate path, while the pound steadied after climbing on data showing UK inflation fell in April.

Investors have been shoring up U.S. rate cut bets after a milder inflation reading last week, even as Fed officials have continued to sound a cautious note.

Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Tuesday said he would need to see several more months of good inflation data before he would be comfortable supporting rate cuts.

That timeline was echoed by Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester.

"Today’s FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes provide a key insight into Fed thinking earlier in the month, with traders keen to gauge whether the September cut currently being priced in looks likely or not," said Joshua Mahony, chief market analyst at Scope Markets.

The Fed minutes from its April 30-May 1 meeting due later in the day may reflect more concern about higher-than-expected U.S. inflation in the first quarter, as the meeting was held before last week’s consumer price inflation report.

While markets remain hopeful that U.S. inflation will continue to cool, PCE data due on May 31 will be a crucial test, analysts said.

The dollar index was 0.26% higher against a basket of currencies at 104.91, touching a one-week high and bobbing above a five-week low of 104.07 touched last week.


The pound steadied after jumping following UK inflation data, which did not slow as much as expected but neared the BoE's target in April, prompting investors to pull bets on a rate cut next month.

British consumer prices rose by 2.3% in annual terms in April, slowing from a 3.2% increase in March. The BoE and economists polled by Reuters had forecast an annual rate of 2.1%.

Money markets now see only a 15% chance of a rate cut in June, according to LSEG data. Earlier this week, pricing in derivatives markets suggested traders saw a 55% chance of a first cut coming in June.

Sterling edged 0.06% lower to $1.2702, after touching a two-month high of $1.2761. The euro fell against the pound to two-month lows and was last down 0.23% on the day at 85.21 pence.

Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets in London, said the inflation data-induced rate repricing looked overdone.

"We would be mindful of GBP rallies proving to be short-lived, as the immediate move in rate cut expectations appears overdone, not least should tomorrow’s flash service PMI reading reveal signs of consumer fatigue," he said.

Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its benchmark cash rate at 5.5% as expected, but lifted its forecasts for peak interest rates at its latest monetary policy meeting as inflation stays stubbornly high.

It now sees rates peaking at 5.7% at the end of 2024, compared with 5.6% three months ago.

The New Zealand dollar jumped as high as $0.6152, its highest since March 14. It was last up 0.25% versus the greenback at $0.6106.

Fears of currency intervention by Tokyo still had traders on alert after suspected rounds of intervention earlier this month.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.26% to 156.61. The yen was little changed after data showed Japan's exports rose 8.3% in April from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Joice Alves in London and Brigid Riley in Tokyo; Editing by Christina Fincher and Bernadette Baum)