Dollar waits for leading week : March Fed rate hike
The dollar was broadly steady on Friday and remained on track for solid weekly gains on growing expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as early as at its meeting this month, triggering a rise in U.S. Treasury yields.
The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.1 percent at 102.140 (DXY) but was within sight of the previous session’s high of 102.260, which was its loftiest peak since Jan. 11. For the week, it was up more 1 percent.
Against the yen, the dollar inched slightly lower on the day to 114.35 <jpy=>, yet stayed near Thursday’s peak of 114.595, its highest since Feb. 15. It was up more than 2 percent for the week.
“There were some investors who weren’t positioned for the possibility of a rate increase this month, and the dollar is benefiting as they adjust their expectations,” said Mitsuo Imaizumi, the Tokyo-based chief foreign-exchange strategist Daiwa Securities.
Comments this week from New York Fed President William Dudley as well as San Francisco Fed President John Williams bouyed dollar bulls, and prompted more investors to increase their bets on a rate increase as early as this month.
Fed funds futures on Thursday implied traders saw a 79.7 percent probability of a Fed rate hike at its March 14-15 policy meeting, up from 66.4 percent on Wednesday, according to data from CME Group’s FedWatch program.
That helped push up yields on U.S. two-year notes (US2YT=RR), which are considered most vulnerable to Fed rate hikes, to their highest since August 2009. [US/]
Fed Chair Janet Yellen as well as Vice Chair Stanley Fischer are slated to speak later on Friday, and could reinforce the hawkish message.
The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.0512 <eur=>, after dipping as low as $1.0495 overnight, within a tick of its lowest level since Jan. 11. It was down 0.5 percent for the week.
The Australian dollar licked its wounds, down slightly on the day at $0.7570 <aud=d4>. It abruptly skidded as low as $0.7552 overnight, its weakest since Feb. 1, as it came under pressure from slumping oil prices and the broadly stronger U.S. currency.
Sterling added 0.1 percent to $1.2280 <gbp=>after plumbing a low of $1.2243 on Thursday, its deepest nadir since Jan. 17.