Dollar hits one-month high to yen as U.S. yields rise

The euro continued to retreat from near a three-month high to Japan’s currency after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde earlier this week tapped down expectations of aggressive interest rate hikes.

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New York: The dollar touched a one-month high versus the yen on Wednesday, boosted by a climb in Treasury yields to multi-year peaks overnight as traders wait on U.S. inflation data this week for clues on the pace of Federal Reserve policy tightening.

The euro continued to retreat from near a three-month high to Japan’s currency after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde earlier this week tapped down expectations of aggressive interest rate hikes.

A more hawkish tone from both the ECB and the Fed last week caught markets off guard and sent yields soaring on the eurozone and U.S. debt in anticipation rates could rise faster and higher than previously expected.

The dollar rose at one point in early Asian trading to 115.69 yen, the highest since Jan. 10, before pulling back to last trade 0.08% lower at 115.43.

The 10-year Treasury yield surged as high as 1.97% on Tuesday for the first time since Nov. 2019.

The yield on the two-year note, which is more sensitive to interest rate expectations, reached 1.347 for the first time since February 2020.

Markets are pricing in more than a 70% chance of a 25 basis point hike and a nearly 30% chance for a 50 basis point hike when U.S. policymakers meet in March, according to CME’s FedWatch Tool.

High U.S. inflation may go even higher before getting better, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said on Tuesday.

Consumer prices probably climbed 7.3% year-over-year in January, economists polled by Reuters predict U.S. data will show on Thursday.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against six major peers, edged 0.02% higher to 95.614, after bouncing off a 2-1/2-week low of 95.136 reached Friday. It touched the highest since June 2020 at 97.441 at the end of last month.

The dollar index is “in a holding pattern while markets weigh up the prospect of an abrupt Fed policy tightening against the ECB’s hawkish backflip,” Westpac strategists wrote in a client note.

Although a more hawkish ECB will keep a lid on dollar gains near-term, the dollar’s “medium-term bull trend is still intact,” and the dollar index is a buy on dips to the low 95 level, they wrote.

The ECB’s Lagarde said on Monday there was no need for extensive tightening, trying to temper rising expectations for aggressive action after she last week opened the door a crack to a potential rate rise this year.

The euro was about flat at $1.1420, following its gradual retreat from a peak of $1.1483 on Friday, which matched the highest level in almost three months.

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