© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A picture illustration shows U.S. 100-dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
By Rae Wee
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – was strongly poised on Friday, buoyed by a chorus of hawkish Federal Reserve speakers and as investors bet a solid jobs data later in the day will keep the world’s biggest central bank on its aggressive tightening path to tame inflation.
The rising greenback pushed the pound and the euro off their intra-week highs in early Asia trade, which also saw a break of 145 per dollar again for the Japanese yen.
was off 0.09% to $1.1150, away from a high of $1.1493 hit earlier in the week after staging a recovery thanks to the U.K. government’s reversal of its planned cut to the highest rate of income tax.
The euro traded 0.05% lower at $0.9788, after two unsuccessful attempts to regain parity this week.
Overnight, a slew of Fed officials reinforced the view that the central bank is nowhere near done with its hiking cycle as it seeks to bring down inflation, and that rates are expected to go up further.
“The rhetoric coming from Fed speakers has been very clear in terms of this hawkish message,” said Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank.
“That certainly reasserted the argument that not only does the Fed remain very much committed to keeping its foot on the tightening pedal, whilst at the same time, you look at economic data, and still the U.S. looks in a much stronger place than others.”
The was up 0.04% at 112.29, after rising nearly 1% overnight and away from a low of 110.05 hit earlier in the week.
All eyes now turn to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due later on Friday, with economists forecasting 250,000 jobs to have been added last month, compared with 315,000 in August.
Elsewhere, the yen last bought 145.04 per dollar, close to its 24-year low of 145.90 hit last month which prompted an intervention by Japanese authorities to shore up the fragile currency.
“We’ve been long arguing that an intervention is not an effective way of changing the trend in the currency … our sense is that the trigger for a new intervention will be a sudden drastic weakening of the yen,” said Catril.
The rose 0.04% to $0.5657 and was on track for its first weekly gain since August, having seen some support from a similarly hawkish Reserve Bank of New Zealand after it lifted its official cash rate by a widely-expected 50 basis points on Wednesday, and promised more to come.
The traded 0.05% higher at $0.6414.
While the Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday surprised markets by lifting interest rates by a smaller-than-expected 25 bp, it added that further tightening would still be needed.
In another sign that central banks across the world are still far from over in their fight to tame decades-high inflation, European Central Bank policymakers appeared increasingly worried at their meeting last month that high inflation could become entrenched, making aggressive policy tightening necessary even at the cost of weaker growth.