By Karen Brettell
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar gained broadly on Wednesday, reaching 16-month highs against the euro and an almost five-year top against the Japanese yen as investors bet that the U.S. Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy faster than its peers.
Fed officials have contributed to the more hawkish view that the U.S. central bank may act sooner to try to stem rising price pressures if inflation doesn’t moderate, while the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to remain more dovish as growth in the region lags.
Various Fed policymakers said they would be open to speeding up the elimination of their bond-buying program if high inflation held and move more quickly to raise interest rates, minutes of the bank's last policy meeting released on Wednesday showed.
The dollar’s strength is “a reflection of the willing dovishness the leadership of the ECB is presenting, versus a little more concern being shown by the Fed for inflation, so therefore maybe a little bit of a divergence on policies,” said Lou Brien, a market strategist at DRW Trading in Chicago.
San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly also said on Wednesday that she could see a case being made to speed up the Fed’s tapering of its bond purchases.
The dollar index gained 0.37% on the day to 96.853. The euro fell 0.44% to $1.1199.
The single currency was hurt by data on Wednesday showing German business morale deteriorated for the fifth month running in November as supply bottlenecks in manufacturing and a spike in coronavirus infections clouded the growth outlook for Europe's largest economy.
The dollar reached an almost five-year high of 115.50 against the Japanese yen after data showed that U.S. consumer spending increased more than expected in October, while price pressures also heated up during the month.
The greenback reached a seven-month high against the Swiss franc.
Other data on Wednesday showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since 1969 last week, while gross domestic product data confirmed that growth slowed sharply in the third quarter.
The New Zealand dollar fell as low as $0.6856, the lowest since Aug. 23, after the country’s central bank raised rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.75%, disappointing some traders that had expected it may raise rates by half a percentage point.
U.S. markets will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Graphic: World FX rates https://graphics.reuters.com/GLOBAL-CURRENCIES-PERFORMANCE/0100301V041/index.html
Currency bid prices at 3:02PM (2002 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 96.8530 96.5170 +0.37% 7.637% +96.9380 +96.4340
Euro/Dollar $1.1199 $1.1249 -0.44% -8.34% +$1.1256 +$1.1186
Dollar/Yen 115.4250 115.1750 +0.22% +11.75% +115.5150 +114.8700
Euro/Yen 129.25 129.49 -0.19% +1.84% +129.5600 +128.7000
Dollar/Swiss 0.9341 0.9332 +0.11% +5.60% +0.9373 +0.9329
Sterling/Dollar $1.3319 $1.3380 -0.43% -2.49% +$1.3389 +$1.3317
Dollar/Canadian 1.2669 1.2671 +0.00% -0.50% +1.2710 +1.2650
Aussie/Dollar $0.7192 $0.7227 -0.48% -6.50% +$0.7227 +$0.7185
Euro/Swiss 1.0461 1.0496 -0.33% -3.20% +1.0504 +1.0457
Euro/Sterling 0.8407 0.8407 +0.00% -5.93% +0.8414 +0.8386
NZ $0.6865 $0.6949 -1.19% -4.38% +$0.6968 +$0.6856
Dollar/Norway 8.9735 8.8935 +0.96% +4.57% +8.9820 +8.8800
Euro/Norway 10.0519 10.0015 +0.50% -3.97% +10.0573 +9.9787
Dollar/Sweden 9.1315 9.0424 +0.62% +11.41% +9.1422 +9.0344
Euro/Sweden 10.2277 10.1651 +0.62% +1.50% +10.2374 +10.1510
(Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Hugh Lawson)