U.S. Dollar climbs as Fed flagged interest rate hikes as early as March
The dollar leapt 0.7% against the yen in the wake of the Fed’s decision and Powell’s remarks, its steepest daily jump in more than two months as the prospect of imminent hikes spooked stock markets and drove bond yields higher.
New York: The dollar hit multi-week highs against other major currencies on Thursday, bolstered after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell primed investors for U.S. rate hikes beginning in March.
Overnight the Fed left its policy rate unchanged but Powell foreshadowed a sustained battle to tame inflation.
He told reporters there was “quite a bit of room to raise interest rates without threatening the labor market” and said the Fed was of a mind to begin lifting rates in March.
The dollar leaped 0.7% against the yen in the wake of the Fed’s decision and Powell’s remarks, its steepest daily jump in more than two months as the prospect of imminent hikes spooked stock markets and drove bond yields higher.
The yen inched a fraction lower to 114.74 per dollar on Thursday. The euro was sold to a six-week low of $1.2301 and the Australian dollar fell about 0.4% to a seven-week trough of $0.7076.
“While communication from Fed members in the lead-up to this meeting meant that the pivot should not have been a surprise, risk appetite shriveled as Powell’s press conference progressed and the extent of the Fed’s commitment to act in the face of significant inflation pressure became clear,” said ANZ analysts.
The New Zealand dollar headed for a sixth consecutive session of selling and touched an almost 15-month low of $0.6626, despite data showing inflation there running at a three-decade high.
Among other data in the spotlight, Chinese industrial profit growth slowed in December, while U.S. economic growth and jobless claims figures are due later in the day.
Sterling is testing support at $1.3454, as investors await a Bank of England meeting next week and have an eye on the turmoil enveloping Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is under pressure after attending parties during lockdowns.
After a battering last week, cryptocurrencies have mostly held their ground in the wake of the Fed’s meeting, though bitcoin saw some pressure early in the Asia session and was last down nearly 2% to $36,100.