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US dollar hits June highs after data backs continued Fed tightening

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 07:03

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The US dollar rose to its highest in more than two weeks on Thursday as solid readings on the US economy helped strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to continue tightening monetary policy this year.

[NEW YORK] The US dollar rose to its highest in more than two weeks on Thursday as solid readings on the US economy helped strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to continue tightening monetary policy this year.

The number of Americans filing unemployment claims fell more than expected last week, suggesting that slack in the labor market was shrinking, and the New York manufacturing and Philadelphia Fed business conditions indexes for June beat expectations.

The Fed has maintained its monetary policy is data dependent, meaning economic reports in line with its outlook are necessary to continue raising rates.

The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against six major peers, rose to 97.557, its highest since May 30.

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The US dollar also hit its highest against the euro, Swiss franc and Swedish crown since May 30 following the data releases.

The greenback rose to 110.97 yen, its highest against the Japanese currency since June 2.

The US dollar already was trading higher ahead of the release of US economic data on Thursday in response to the Fed's decision to raise US overnight interest rates by 25 basis points to a target range of one to 1.25 per cent on Wednesday.

The Fed also gave its first clear outline of its plan to reduce its US$4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasuries and mortgage-backed bonds.

"The Fed has pretty much reaffirmed its intent, absent any pronounced deterioration, of continuing to normalise rates, to raise once more this year," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets Online Trading.

"And I think that realisation is starting to seep into the market right now."

A Reuters poll of 21 of the 23 primary dealers that do business directly with the Fed showed 14 of them now believed the central bank would announce the start of its balance sheet normalization at its Sept 19-20 policy meeting. The rest of them said it would make such a move at its Dec 12-13 meeting.

Sterling was flat in North American trading after it jumped more than a cent on signs of a shift in the Bank of England's stance on keeping interest rates at record lows.

Two more policymakers at the Bank of England joined Kristin Forbes in calling for a reversal to the BOE's interest rate cut last August, sending the pound as high as US$1.2795 in the minutes following its decision to leave rates unchanged.

It was last little changed against the US dollar at US$1.2757.

REUTERS

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