Dollar set for weekly gains, investors await data and Yellen

By Anirban Nag

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar rose on Friday, ticking up with Treasury yields and on track for weekly gains, as investors await U.S. retail sales data and remarks from Federal Reserve officials that could cement expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike this year.

The safe haven yen <jpy=>and the Swiss franc <chf=>were under pressure after risk sentiment got a boost from Chinese data that showed producer prices rising for the first time in nearly five years. That boded well for the global economy which has been battling the threat of deflation in recent months.</chf=></jpy=>

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, added 0.4 percent to 97.874 (DXY). It was not far from a seven-month high of 98.129 touched on Thursday, and up 1 percent for the week, and more than 2 percent for the month so far.

Retail sales data would offer some insight on the strength of U.S. consumption. Following the data, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will address an economics conference, at which Boston Fed governor Eric Rosengren will also speak.

The minutes of the latest Fed meeting in September, released on Wednesday, prompted investors to raise their bets of a Fed rate increase at its December policy meeting. Markets are now pricing in around a 70 percent chance that the Fed will move.

“Markets are looking for a solid rebound in US consumer spending, with the headline retail sales print likely to pick up,” said Viraj Patel, currency strategist at ING.

“With consumption now a key engine for growth, we’ve noted that dollar crosses have been more sensitive to surprises in recent U.S. retail sales reports. So any upside in today’s release could sustain the dollar’s upward momentum.”

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.5 percent to 104.25 <JPY=>, having risen to 104.62 yen on Thursday, its strongest level since late July. It was up 1.2 percent for the week.

Traders said with dollar/yen pushing steadily higher, investors who have been building bets in favor of the yen in recent weeks are likely to cut those positions, giving another leg up to the greenback.

“Positioning is a concern for us,” Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) analysts said in a note. “With the markets extremely long the yen currently, it will only take a small rise in dollar/yen for positioning to start to adjust.”


The euro fell 0.3 percent to $1.1024 <EUR=>, heading back toward its Thursday’s low of $1.0982, its lowest level since late July. It was down 1.6 percent for the week.