© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar and Chinese Yuan banknotes are seen in this illustration picture taken June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Samuel Indyk
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar ascended to a six-month peak on Wednesday, reversing earlier losses, after U.S. data showed the services sector surprisingly picked up steam last month amid higher new orders and businesses paying elevated prices, suggesting persistent inflation pressure.
The greenback recovered against most currencies after the data, with the euro and sterling hitting three-month lows and the yen touching session troughs.
Data showed the Institute for Supply Management (ISM)’s non-manufacturing PMI rose to 54.5 last month, the highest reading since February and up from 52.7 in July. A reading above 50 indicates growth in the services industry, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the non-manufacturing PMI would decrease to 52.5, and no economist anticipated a higher reading than 53.9.
The data suggested that interest rates will remain elevated for longer, although that doesn’t alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will pause its rate hikes at a meeting later this month.
“The two big challenges facing the Fed right now are the risks that inflation could become entrenched and the risks that the consumer could falter when excess savings dry up,” wrote Jeffrey Roach, chief economist, at LPL Financial (NASDAQ:), in a note after the data.
“Given the data, the Fed will most likely deliver a hawkish pause at the next meeting. The hard data is not yet convincing enough to establish strong views about the subsequent meetings.”
By midmorning trading, the rose to a fresh six-month high of 105.03, and was last at 104.95, up 0.2%.
The euro and sterling fell to three-month lows after the data and were last down 0.1% at $1.0714 and down 0.5% at $1.2496, respectively.
Against the yen, the dollar trimmed losses, last down 0.1% at 147.56 yen. Earlier in the session, it rose to 147.82, the lowest since Nov. 4.
The currency market remains on yen-intervention watch, however.
The yen strengthened to as much as 147.02 per U.S. dollar after Japan’s top currency diplomat, Masato Kanda, said they won’t rule out options if speculative moves persist, the strongest warning since mid-August.
The Asian currency has hovered around the key 145-per-dollar level for the past few weeks, leading traders to keep a wary eye on signs of intervention by Tokyo.
Kanda, Japan’s vice-minister of finance for international affairs, has been the central figure in the country’s efforts to stem the sharp decline of the yen since last year.
“The remarks suggest that intervention could be imminent with the yen in the intervention zone we saw last year,” said Chris Turner, ING global head of markets and regional head of research for UK and CEE.
Japan intervened in currency markets 12 months ago when the dollar rose past 145 yen, prompting the Ministry of Finance to buy the yen and push the pair back to around 140 yen.
Currency bid prices at 10:36AM (1436 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 104.9600 104.7500 +0.21% 1.420% +105.0300 +104.5900
Euro/Dollar $1.0708 $1.0722 -0.13% -0.06% +$1.0749 +$1.0703
Dollar/Yen 147.5900 147.7000 -0.07% +12.58% +147.8150 +147.0200
Euro/Yen 158.03 158.39 -0.23% +12.64% +158.4400 +157.7800
Dollar/Swiss 0.8932 0.8897 +0.41% -3.39% +0.8944 +0.8882
Sterling/Dollar $1.2490 $1.2564 -0.58% +3.29% +$1.2587 +$1.2484
Dollar/Canadian 1.3656 1.3641 +0.10% +0.78% +1.3675 +1.3623
Aussie/Dollar $0.6376 $0.6379 -0.02% -6.45% +$0.6405 +$0.6359
Euro/Swiss 0.9563 0.9536 +0.28% -3.36% +0.9575 +0.9534
Euro/Sterling 0.8571 0.8533 +0.45% -3.09% +0.8577 +0.8529
NZ $0.5870 $0.5884 -0.21% -7.54% +$0.5903 +$0.5860
Dollar/Norway 10.7370 10.7080 +0.22% +9.35% +10.7390 +10.6780
Euro/Norway 11.4988 11.4909 +0.07% +9.58% +11.5236 +11.4648
Dollar/Sweden 11.1263 11.0921 +0.18% +6.90% +11.1336 +11.0597
Euro/Sweden 11.9159 11.8944 +0.18% +6.87% +11.9323 +11.8878
(This article is generated through the syndicated feed sources, Financetin doesn’t own any part of this article)