NEW YORK — The US dollar hit its highest level against the yen in 8-1/2 months on Wednesday and also surged against the euro and Swiss franc after a surge in oil prices pushed US Treasury yields higher, while strong private payrolls data bolstered expectations for a hawkish Federal Reserve next year.
The dollar rose about 1.7 per cent against the yen to 114.43 JPY= yen, its highest level since early March. The euro EUR= fell about 0.8 per cent against the dollar to a session low of USD1.0554 after US crude prices rallied more than 8.5 per cent as some of the world's largest oil producers agreed to curb oil output for the first time since 2008.
The dollar was last on track to gain about 9 per cent against the yen in November to mark its strongest monthly performance since August 1995. The dollar also hit a roughly 10-month high against the Swiss franc CHF= of 1.0204 francs.
The gains in oil prices boosted views of higher inflation, which in turn sent US Treasury yields higher given the negative impact of inflation on bond prices. The higher Treasury yields fuelled demand for the dollar relative to currencies such as the euro and yen, whose government bond yields are still low-to-negative.
"It’s the widening of interest rate differentials," said Alvise Marino, FX strategist at Credit Suisse in New York, in reference to the dollar's gains on the back of higher Treasury yields. Benchmark 10-year US Treasury note yields US10YT=RR were last up about 10 basis points on the day, at 2.395 per cent.
A continuation of strong US economic data on Wednesday after a stronger-than-expected gross domestic product growth reading on Tuesday also supported the dollar by underpinning expectations that the Fed would raise interest rates next month and continue to hike at a swift pace next year, analysts said.
ADP National Employment Report data on showed US private employers added 216 thousand jobs in November, well above economists' expectations. The ADP figures precede the US Labour Department's more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
"It absolutely blasted expectations, and when you see that happen, that should promote some dollar strength," said Stephen Casey, senior foreign exchange trader at Cambridge Global Payments in New York.