Stateside, markets turned their attention to tax reform after the Senate Budget Committee approved the Republican tax bill, a crucial step toward a vote in the full chamber later this week. Senate Republicans, who hold 52 seats, can only afford to lose two votes to still pass the bill under special budget rules.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve chair nominee Jerome Powell indicated the case for a December rate hike was “coming together.” Powell also said he favored “tailoring” regulations on financial institutions, adding that regulation on smaller banks ought to be decreased in intensity.
The dollar was broadly firmer following Powell’s comments, with the dollar index coming off a two-month low touched earlier this week. That index stood at 93.224 at 7:01 a.m. HK/SIN, after trading at the 92 handle earlier in the week.
Also of note were reports that a divorce bill between the U.K. and the European Union had been agreed upon, with newspapers citing a sum around 50 billion euros ($59 billion).
The pound rose as high as $1.3386 on the news in the overnight session after trading as low as $1.3219. The currency pared some gains to trade at $1.3350 at 6:47 a.m. HK/SIN.