The dollar reached a more than three-week high versus the yen on Tuesday after an influential Federal Reserve official said U.S. inflation should rise alongside wages, reinforcing expectations for the Fed to keep raising interest rates. At one point, the dollar rose to 111.775 yen, reaching its strongest level since May 26. That marked a gain of about 2.7 percent from the dollar’s near 2-month low of 108.81 yen set on June 14. The greenback last stood at 111.67 yen, up 0.1 percent on the day.
The dollar was lifted on Monday when New York Fed President William Dudley said that tightening in the labour market should help drive up inflation. That helped offset concerns among some investors that stubbornly low inflation could prevent the Fed from raising interest rates further this year. Dudley’s comments reinforced the message from last week’s Fed meeting and gave a boost to the dollar, said Teppei Ino, analyst for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Singapore.
The dollar is now near some key technical resistance levels, including its May 24 intraday high of 112.13 yen, Ino said. “It’s sort of at a crossroads now. If it gets through these levels, that could open the way for further gains, at least from a technical perspective,” he said. Separately, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Monday it may be worthwhile for the U.S. central bank to wait until year-end to decide whether to raise interest rates again.
The greenback has edged higher since the Fed on June 14 raised interest rates for a second time in 2017 and announced it would begin cutting its holdings of bonds and other securities later this year, while indicating that a recent softening in inflation was seen as transitory.
The dollar may see further gains against the yen, especially after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda last week indicated the BOJ would be in no hurry to dial back its massive stimulus programme, said Tan Teck Leng, forex analyst for UBS Wealth Management in Singapore.
“Short-term, maybe the dollar/yen could be the one that’s more interesting,” Tan said. However, any weakness in U.S. inflation data going forward would pose a risk for dollar bulls, he added. Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar rose to as high as 97.609 at one point on Tuesday, its highest level since May 30. The dollar index last traded at 97.514.
The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.1156. Sterling held steady at $1.2740, ahead of speeches by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and British finance minister Philip Hammond later on Tuesday. The two men in charge of Britain’s economy are expected to spell out how they plan to prevent a further hit to its already weakened growth prospects following this week’s launch of the historic Brexit talks.