Euro jumps to 3-week high amid ECB interest rate signals
The euro jumped to a more than three-week peak to the dollar today, and sterling rose to the highest this month as European Central Bank officials pushed the case for further aggressive monetary tightening.
The greenback idled not far from a two-week low against a basket of peers ahead of key US inflation data this week that might give the Federal Reserve room to slow the pace of rate hikes at its September 21 policy meeting.
The euro leapt as high as $1.0130 early in Asian trade before last trading 0.32% stronger than Friday at $1.0079.
Sterling rose to $1.1681, and was last 0.23% higher at $1.1610.
ECB policymakers see a rising risk that they will have to raise their key interest rate to 2% or more to curb record inflation in the euro zone, sources told Reuters.
In an interview with German radio over the weekend, Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel said that if the picture for consumer prices doesn’t change, “further clear steps must follow.”
The dollar index, which measures the currency against six major counterparts, was little changed at 108.78, holding close to those levels after falling back from a two-decade peak of 110.79 reached on Wednesday.
It had dipped to the lowest since August 30 at 108.35 in the previous session.
Investors are wary ahead of tomorrow’s US inflation report, even as Fed officials continued their hawkish rhetoric on Friday, the final day for such comments before a black-out period leading up to the Federal Open Market Committee’s deliberations.
Fed Governor Christopher Waller said he supports “a significant increase at our next meeting,” while St Louis Fed President James Bullard reiterated his call for a hike of 75 basis points.
Meanwhile, the dollar strengthened 0.36% to 143.215 against the rate-sensitive yen, heading back toward a 24-year zenith at 144.99 from Wednesday.
Japanese officials again hinted at intervention over the weekend, with a senior government spokesman saying in a local television interview that the administration must take steps as needed to counter excessive yen declines.
Analysts though doubt intervention would work without the backing of the Fed and other central banks, considering that the Bank of Japan is alone among developed markets in pressing on with stimulus.
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar slipped 0.23% to $0.6831, while New Zealand’s kiwi edged 0.07% lower to $0.6099.
Bitcoin eased 0.4% to $21,750, after briefly pushing up to $22,350 for the first time since August 19, as the cryptocurrency attempts to find its footing following its bounce from a nearly three-month low at $18,540 last week.