NEW YORK – The dollar resumed its uptrend on Tuesday, helped by a surge in U.S. existing home sales last month that further cemented expectations not only of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in December, but also of further tightening next year.
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On Monday, the dollar sold off slightly as investors took advantage of a holiday-shortened week to square positions and book profits on a U.S. currency that has logged nearly two weeks of extended gains.
In that span, the dollar index has gained nearly 5 percent on expectations U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would boost fiscal spending, in turn elevating inflation and lifting interest rates.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. home resales rose two percent in October to an annual rate of 5.6 million units, the highest level in more than 9-1/2 years. That pushed the dollar to session highs versus the yen and drove a turnaround in the dollar index.
"The greenback should continue to benefit from mounting expectations for inflation and a potentially faster pace of Fed rate hikes," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
In late morning trading, the dollar rose 0.4 percent against the yen to 111.20 yen. On Monday, the dollar had hit a six-month high versus the Japanese currency.
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An earthquake of magnitude 7.4 and a subsequent tsunami warning in northern Japan prompted knee-jerk selling of the dollar for the safe-haven yen overnight. The 2011 earthquake in Japan had resulted in a nearly 7 percent appreciation of the yen for the first few days afterwards on the expectation of increased repatriation flows.
"There is a feeling that the step adjustment in the dollar has already happened," RBC head of G10 FX strategy Adam Cole said, outlining a 2017 outlook that called for the dollar to fall back to around 100 yen.
"A December rate hike is now totally discounted. Two more hikes next year are 80 percent discounted. At these levels I would like to start fading the rally in dollar-yen."
On Monday, the greenback had set a near six-month high of 111.36 yen, which amounted to a gain of 10 percent from its Nov. 9 trough near 101 yen.
The dollar index rose 0.1 percent to 101.19 as the euro fell 0.3 percent against the dollar to $1.0598. The shared currency was not far from a nearly one-year low against the dollar hit last week. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)