© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
By Laura Matthews
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar held a seven-week peak on Friday, as another round of data showing still-high inflation reinforced expectations that interest rates could stay higher for longer.
Hotter-than-expected data has helped the greenback to strengthen against many of its major peers this week, sending the up 0.6% at 105.20 to a seven-week high and putting it on track to post its largest weekly gain since late September.
The euro was also on pace to post its biggest weekly loss against the dollar since late September.
Stoking the dollar’s recent surge is the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, tracked by the Federal Reserve for monetary policy, which rose 0.6% last month after gaining 0.2% in December. The PCE price index accelerated 5.4% in the 12 months through January, after rising 5.3% in December.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, jumped 1.8% last month, according to the Commerce Department. December’s data was revised higher to show spending dipping 0.1% instead of falling 0.2% as previously reported. Moreover, sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased 7.2% in January, the highest level since March 2022. December’s sales pace was revised higher to 625,000 units from the previously reported 616,000.
“Strong U.S. data have completely turned the market in February. Good news has been bad news, with rates and equities selling off and the U.S. dollar up. The U.S. economy seems to be re-accelerating, forcing the Fed to hike more, in a market that was hoping for early Fed pivot,” said Athanasios Vamvakidis, global head G10 FX strategy at Bank of America (NYSE:) in London.
“Unemployment remains historically low in every single G10 economy and has yet to increase in any of them during monetary policy tightening so far,” Vamvakidis added. “The market’s reality check will be complete when both good news and bad news are bad news, which should be the case when inflation is high and sticky, and the Fed committed to bringing it down.”
Fed funds futures traders are now pricing the Fed funds rate to hit a peak of 5.395% in September, and expect it to stay above 5% for the year, compared with the current target rate of 4.5-4.75%. The markets have also priced in rate hikes over the next three meetings.
Against the yen, the dollar hit a two-month high and was last up 1.3% at 136.41 yen. The U.S. currency also rose to its strongest level in seven weeks versus the Swiss franc following the data. The dollar last traded at 0.9406 francs, up 0.7%.
The euro was last down 0.39% against the greenback at $1.0549, after falling to a seven-week low of $1.0536 earlier in the session. Sterling softened 0.60% against the dollar at $1.1951.
Amo Sahota, director at Klarity FX in San Francisco, said that while the dollar is on a good run because of the PCE data, it is unlikely to be racing too far ahead of the pack like before.
“I still think the yield spread advantage in a lot of those emerging markets is making it more attractive. That’s why the Mexican peso is kind of outperforming. I think that some of that will still stay. I don’t think we’re going to go straight into the exodus and drive into the U.S. dollar at the same pace that we were doing last year,” Sahota said.
Currency bid prices at 3:48PM (2048 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 105.2000 104.5700 +0.62% 1.652% +105.3200 +104.4100
Euro/Dollar $1.0549 $1.0594 -0.41% -1.54% +$1.0615 +$1.0536
Dollar/Yen 136.3950 134.6800 +1.25% +4.01% +136.5100 +134.0500
Euro/Yen 143.87 142.70 +0.82% +2.54% +144.0000 +142.1700
Dollar/Swiss 0.9406 0.9340 +0.72% +1.74% +0.9407 +0.9327
Sterling/Dollar $1.1947 $1.2018 -0.58% -1.20% +$1.2042 +$1.1928
Dollar/Canadian 1.3611 1.3550 +0.46% +0.46% +1.3665 +1.3529
Aussie/Dollar $0.6724 $0.6808 -1.20% -1.33% +$0.6824 +$0.6719
Euro/Swiss 0.9923 0.9892 +0.31% +0.28% +0.9924 +0.9889
Euro/Sterling 0.8828 0.8818 +0.11% -0.18% +0.8836 +0.8799
NZ $0.6165 $0.6227 -0.94% -2.85% +$0.6243 +$0.6153
Dollar/Norway 10.3860 10.3010 +0.85% +5.86% +10.4140 +10.2965
Euro/Norway 10.9606 10.9132 +0.43% +4.45% +10.9807 +10.9056
Dollar/Sweden 10.5040 10.4326 +0.34% +0.92% +10.5123 +10.3873
Euro/Sweden 11.0769 11.0393 +0.34% -0.65% +11.0906 +10.9979
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