TOKYO: The dollar on Friday hovered around two-month highs on the yen and rose against a string of emerging currencies ahead of US jobs data that could support the case for a December interest rate hike.
The Labor Department’s October employment report was expected to show job growth strengthened to 181,000 new payrolls from September’s paltry 142,000 reading.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said a rate hike next month was a “live possibility” if data continues to show a solid expansion in the world’s top economy.
High-yield, riskier emerging currencies have been hit hard this year on fears of a flight of capital back to the United States as dealers look for better, safer investments on the back of the looming US rate lift-off.
“Market sentiment has been driven toward a rate hike,” said Yosuke Hosokawa, head of the forex sales team at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
“As the result, dollar-buying momentum is still strong . . . in the medium term, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the dollar rise to 123 yen,” he told Agence France-Presse.
The US unit changed hands at 121.66 yen in afternoon Asian trading, slightly off 121.74 yen in New York on Thursday.
But it was still well up from below 120 yen in recent weeks and trading around two-month highs.
The greenback climbed against the Taiwanese and Singapore dollars, the Philippine peso, South Korean won and Indonesian rupiah.
“The market is on tenterhooks ahead of the US non-farm payrolls,” Angus Nicholson, an analyst at IG Markets Ltd. in Melbourne, told Bloomberg News.
“US data has been somewhat mixed but the market has been responding more strongly to the Fed statements this week that they could hike rates this year.”
In other trading, the euro was nearly flat at $1.0886 and 132.44 yen compared with $1.0881 and 132.46 yen in US trade.