© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. one dollar banknotes are seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken, February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
By Dhara Ranasinghe
LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar climbed to its highest levels in over a year against the Japanese yen on Monday, supported by a scaling back of expectations for U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate cuts next year.
Japanese authorities were unusually quiet as the yen, down almost 14% this year, weakened again although markets remained alert to potential intervention to shore up the Japanese currency.
Markets also digested news late on Friday that Moody’s (NYSE:) has lowered its outlook for the U.S. credit rating to “negative,” while focus turned to Tuesday’s U.S. consumer price index.
Fed policymakers, including Chair Jerome Powell, last week suggested the battle against inflation may not be over yet, prompting a scaling back of market rate cut bets that pushed up short-dated Treasury yields and supported the greenback.
The dollar on Monday rose to 151.85 yen, its highest level since October 2022. It was last up 0.2%, having last week rallied around 1.4% in the biggest weekly jump against the yen in three months.
“We’re in this pause where the dollar has peaked and the U.S. economy is slowing but people are going to wait for confirmation,” said Societe Generale (OTC:) strategist Kit Juckes.
“Given the move in U.S. Treasuries of course the yen is not rallying yet,” he said, referring to U.S. bond yields.
The , measuring the greenback’s value against other major currencies, was a touch firmer around 105.80 and holding on to most of last week’s gains.
In addition to the data, more Fed speakers are lined up this week and are likely to echo Powell in leaving the door open for further hikes, said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index.
“Even if we’re treated to a softer CPI print, the Fed are likely to continue to push back against hopes of rate cuts as it’s not in their interest to even think about cutting rates, let alone mention it whilst inflation remains above target,” he said.
Data out of Japan on Monday, meanwhile, showed wholesale inflation slowed below 1% for the first time in just over 2-1/2-years, suggesting cost pressures that had been driving up prices were starting to fade and giving little support to the yen.
The euro was hovering around $1.0693, broadly steady against the dollar.
Elsewhere, sterling stood firm at $1.2231 ahead of UK average weekly earnings data on Tuesday and a CPI reading on Wednesday, after GDP data last week showed the economy failed to grow.