© Reuters. A U.S. one dollar banknote is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Sujata Rao
LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar crept higher on Friday, lifted by a rise in U.S. inflation-adjusted bond yields to one-week highs and expectations of a strong set of employment data that could make the case for faster U.S. policy tightening.
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida laid the groundwork for dollar gains by suggesting this week that conditions for hiking interest rates might be met as soon as late 2022.
Clarida’s remarks lifted Treasury yields after five weeks of declines while “real” yields, excluding inflation, are set to snap a six-week streak of declines.
U.S. non-farm payrolls data is due at 1230 GMT. Forecasts for jobs created last month vary widely from 350,000 to 1.6 million, and the consensus figure is 870,000.
A number that size or larger could lift the dollar further, especially against the euro and the yen, which will not see any policy tightening for years more.
Graphic: U.S. non-farm payrolls https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/ygdvzznynvw/Pasted%20image%201625469232171.png
Steve Englander, global head of FX research at Standard Chartered (LON:), said that even a figure close to the current consensus could provoke a market reaction.
“A major piece of data that can be read as an optimistic signal could firm up rate expectations,” he said, particularly as markets have recently backed away from pricing in hikes.
By 0830 GMT, the dollar traded at a one-week high at 92.39 against a basket of currencies, having eked out a 0.3% gain so far this week following last week’s 0.9% fall which was its worst since May.
Against the euro, it stood at $1.1812, with the latter also pressured by weaker-than-expected German industrial orders data. The greenback also touched a one-week high of 109.88 Japanese yen.
Expectations grew on Thursday for a strong set of U.S. jobs numbers after initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 to 385,000 in the week ended July 31, and layoffs dropped to their lowest in more than 21 years.
Longer-term, the impact of Clarida’s hawkish comments to last is unlikely to last, said Vasilieos Gkionakis, global head of FX strategy at Lombard Odier Group.
“On the whole, I still think we’re in the phase in the business cycle where growth and global trade are going to remain relatively solid, and that’s going to provide some downside bias for the dollar,” he said.
That view was echoed by a Reuters poll of strategists, with most predicting a dollar fall over the next year.
Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar is on course for its best week since late June following a sharp drop in unemployment that all but cemented expectations of an interest rates this month.
The last bought $0.7048 and the Australian dollar bought $0.7387, slightly lower on the day.
A path to rate hikes was also mapped out by the Bank of England on Thursday, supporting sterling, which last bought $1.3920.
But the firm dollar, alongside rising COVID-19 infections across Asia, is hitting emerging currencies, with the Thai baht at a three-year low. It has lost more than 7% in seven weeks. The meanwhile slipped 0.7% to a two-week low.