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US dollar extends gain against yen after best month since 1995
[NEW YORK] The US dollar completed its best month versus the yen in two decades as rising Treasury yields added to the US currency's allure.
The greenback extended Wednesday's surge on speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December and on the prospect of President-elect Donald Trump's proposed fiscal stimulus fueling inflation. Data on US employment and personal income exceeded forecasts, bolstering the case for a Fed move.
"If US bond yields continue to rise in the same way as they have since the presidential election, there's a case for the yen to continue to weaken," said Richard Falkenhall, a strategist at SEB AB in Stockholm.
The US dollar gained 0.2 per cent to 114.74 yen as of 8:57am in Tokyo, after jumping 1.9 per cent in New York. The greenback surged 9.2 per cent in November, the most since 1995.
The greenback may see its gains consolidate as it approaches 115 yen, according to Falkenhall.
Politics are also playing their part in the rally, after Mr Trump said he'd nominate former Goldman Sachs Group Inc partner Steven Mnuchin as the next Treasury secretary.
The selection fuels "expectations that he'd allow a strong dollar, as that's been a pattern for Treasury secretaries from the financial industry," said Shigeki Yoshitoshi, head of Japan foreign-exchange and commodities sales at Australia & New Zealand Bank Group Ltd in Tokyo.
As US 10-year yields held close to the highest levels this year, the difference over German bunds, Europe's benchmark sovereign securities, approached the widest on record, according to closing-price data going back to 1990.
The US dollar climbed more broadly, with a Bloomberg index of the US currency versus 10 major peers advancing 3.9 per cent last month. The gauge last week touched a record high in data going back to 2004.
"Sentiment is still favoring the Trump rally," said ANZ's Mr Yoshitoshi.