The U.S. dollar climbed against most major currencies on Wednesday amid speculation that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates next year.
The greenback headed towards its best year since 2005 as the upward momentum of U.S. economy has well bolstered market speculation that the central bank would raise interest rates before mid-2015.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, was down 0.31 percent at 90.271 in late trading.
On the economic front, U.S. jobless claims last week rose more than expected. The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits jumped 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 in the week ending Dec. 27, said the Labor Department on Wednesday. Analysts had forecast a smaller increase to 290,000.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Business Barometer fell 2.5 points to a five month low of 58.3 in December, as production and both ordering components expanded at the slowest pace since July, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago reported Wednesday.
However, the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 0.8 percent to 104. 8 in November from a slightly downwardly revised 104.0 in October, beating market expectations, said the National Association of Realtors Wednesday. Trading volume remained light, as many investors are away during the holiday season.
In late New York trading, the euro moved down to 1.2102 dollars from 1.2154 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound rose to 1.5584 dollars from 1.5557 dollars. The Australian dollar dropped to 0.8172 dollar from 0.8180 dollar.
The U.S. dollar bought 119.89 Japanese yen, higher than 119.55 yen of the previous session. The greenback went up to 0.9939 Swiss franc from 0.9895 Swiss franc, and moved up to 1.1625 Canadian dollars from 1.1603 Canadian dollars.