TOKYO: The yen wallowed near a 10-week low on Friday, while the dollar ground towards a fourth weekly advance as traders dialled back bets on how quickly the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates and how soon the Federal Reserve will cut them.
The yen was little changed at 149.315 per dollar in early Asian trading, after dipping to 149.48 late in the previous session for the first time since Nov. 27.
BOJ Deputy Governor Shinichi Uchida on Thursday said “it’s hard to imagine” that the central bank would keep raising rates “rapidly” even after ending negative interest rate policy, which the market expects to happen as early as next month.
On Friday morning in Tokyo, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said that he was “watching FX moves carefully,” while also repeating that decisions on monetary policy are up to the central bank. The yen was unfazed by the warning.
The dollar index – which measures the currency against six major peers – was steady at 104.15, having gained 0.1% on Thursday after fresh data pointed to the resilience of the U.S. labor market, dealing another blow to bets for early Fed rate cuts.
Dollar oscillates on less dovish Fed comments; China inflation data awaited
For the week, the dollar index has climbed 0.18%, getting off to a strong start after blowout monthly payrolls data last Friday and a hawkish tilt from Fed Chair Jerome Powell in a “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday.
The next major scheduled U.S. data release is January’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation reading on Tuesday.
Traders currently lay just 16.5% odds for a rate cut at the Fed’s next policy meeting in March, versus 65.9% odds a month ago, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.
“While pricing for the March FOMC has been trimmed to negligible levels, there’s still latent upside fuel for the USD in pricing for FOMC meetings beyond that,” Richard Franulovich, Westpac’s head of foreign exchange strategy, wrote in a client note, predicting a rally toward 105.50 for the dollar index.
“We assume U.S resilience can extend well into 2024 … and will make for a bumpy disinflation last mile.”
The euro was little changed at $1.0774 and sterling was flat at $1.2619. Both currencies have been relatively resilient with officials from the European Central Bank and Bank of England pushing back against market wagers on early rate reductions.