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Dollar on track for weekly gain as Fed pushes back on pivot

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SINGAPORE — The dollar was headed for

its best week in a month on Friday, as hawkish remarks from

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Federal Reserve officials and stronger-than-expected retail

sales data put the brakes on a pullback that was triggered by

signs of softening inflation.

It was helped overnight, too, by a 0.4% fall in sterling

after Britain’s budget for tax rises and spending cuts

disappointed investors.

St Louis Fed President James Bullard was the latest Fed

official to push back on market hopes for a pause in interest

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rate hikes, saying that even on dovish assumptions, the funds

rate needs to rise to at least 5-5.25% to curb inflation, from

3.75-4% currently.

More pessimistic assumptions would recommend it climb above

7%, he said.

The dollar rose modestly on the yen following Bullard’s

comments and is up about 1% for the week, but was straddling40

per dollar as the day wore on, off highs of 140.495 yen

.

It also rose 0.9% on the Australian dollar

overnight to $0.6690 per Aussie, and is on course for its first

weekly gain on the Aussie since mid-October.

Another reason for the dollar bid seemed to be news that

North Korea had fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic

missile, just as leaders of South Korea, Japan, the United

States and other nations meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic

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Cooperation (APEC) summit.

The U.S. dollar index is up about 0.16% so far this

week to 106.59, stabilizing after a small miss on U.S. inflation

last week triggered one of the dollar’s sharpest weekly drops in

the free-floating exchange rate era on excitement about an end

to rate hikes.

Treasury yields too rose after Bullard, but not enough to

scale the week’s peaks, with 10-year yields trading

narrowly around 3.76%.

“The Fed obviously doesn’t want to acknowledge (that

possibility) and has been saying there’s a lot more work to be

done,” said Jason Wong, senior strategist at BNZ in Wellington.

“Markets are looking for further confirmation from the

data,” he said, with U.S. inflation readings for November and

December crucial for discerning a trend.

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Fed funds futures pricing currently implies a peak rate just

below 5% and for rates to start falling by late 2023. The Fed

next meets Dec. 13-14.

Earlier this week, stronger-than-expected retail sales data

had also shaken hopes for a pause in hikes, since it seemed to

suggest consumers remained in spending mode.

In Japan, data showed consumer prices are surging at their

fastest pace in 40 years, potentially putting pressure on

authorities to step back from super-easy monetary policies, but

the yen showed little immediate reaction.

Later on Friday, British retail sales data is due, and

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is among a

smattering of policymakers due to speak.

The New Zealand dollar was firm at $0.6153 as

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traders turn their attention to next week’s central bank meeting

in Wellington, with markets divided over whether a 50 basis

point or 75 bp hike is in the offing.

========================================================

Currency bid prices at 0542 GMT

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change

Session

Euro/Dollar

$1.0364 $1.0365 -0.01% -8.84% +1.0391 +1.0358

Dollar/Yen

140.0500 140.1800 -0.33% +21.48% +140.4900 +139.7200

Euro/Yen 145.16 145.29 -0.09% +11.39% +145.5500 +144.9600

Dollar/Swiss

0.9522 0.9523 -0.01% +4.39% +0.9530 +0.9514

Sterling/Dollar

1.1893 1.1868 +0.23% -12.05% +1.1930 +1.1859

Dollar/Canadian

1.3321 1.3328 -0.05% +5.36% +1.3329 +1.3300

Aussie/Dollar

0.6705 0.6690 +0.24% -7.75% +0.6725 +0.6682

NZ

Dollar/Dollar 0.6157 0.6131 +0.51% -9.96% +0.6173 +0.6120

All spots

Tokyo spots

Europe spots

Volatilities

Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

and Sam Holmes)

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