Dollar Marks Fresh Highs on U.S. Pandemic Recovery Optimism

Dollar
FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

TOKYO ⸺ The dollar rose to a fresh one-year high versus the yen and multi-month peaks with other rivals on Wednesday as investors bet that massive fiscal stimulus and aggressive vaccinations will help the United States lead a global pandemic recovery. 

President Joe Biden is set to outline later on Wednesday how he intends to pay for a $3-$4 trillion infrastructure plan, after earlier this week saying 90% of adult Americans would be eligible for vaccination by April 19.

The dollar index rose as far as 93.435, the highest in almost five months. It has climbed from close to 90 at the start of March, on course for its best month since 2016.

The greenback set a fresh one-year top of 110.97 yen and marked an almost five-month high of $1.1705 per euro.

“U.S. economic outperformance can continue to underpin the USD in the near term,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia currency strategist Carol Kong wrote in a client note.

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“JPY will be driven by the general USD strengthening trend,” potentially rising to 113 by year-end, she said.

The dollar was also supported from a spike in U.S. bond yields, which make the currency more attractive as an investment.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note jumped to a one-year high of 1.776% on Tuesday.

Investors will watch closely monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday, with Federal Reserve policymakers so far citing slack in the jobs market for their continued lower-for-longer stance on interest rates, which has boosted the growth outlook but also stoked worries about inflation.

Data overnight showed U.S. consumer confidence soared this month to the highest since the start of the pandemic, supporting views that economic growth will accelerate in the coming months, driven by more fiscal stimulus and an improving public health situation.

Australia’s dollar edged up to $0.76025, consolidating after its drop to $0.7564 last week, the lowest level seen this year.

The Chinese yuan traded around 6.57 per dollar in the offshore market, from the weakest since November at 6.5838, touched on both Monday and Tuesday.

Bitcoin briefly topped $59,000, trying to close the distance to the record peak at $61,781.83 set earlier this month. 

PayPal Holdings said Tuesday it launched a “Checkout with Crypto” service, which will allow U.S. users to use their cryptocurrency holdings to pay online merchants worldwide, adding to the growing global acceptance of the digital tokens on both Wall Street and Main Street.

“The big companies have to question whether they can afford to ignore it anymore,” Julius de Kempenaer, senior analyst at StockCharts.com, said about bitcoin, which has already doubled in value this year.

He said his first target was for the token to rise above $70,000, but that considering the current momentum, “the best thing to do is just follow the trend and let the market tell you where it’s going to end.”

Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Lincoln Feast. Reuters

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