By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) -The U.S. dollar edged higher against other major currencies on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting reinforced market expectations of another interest rate hike at the end of July.
Almost all Fed officials agreed to hold interest rates steady last month and most expected policymakers would eventually need to tighten policy further, a view that pushed Treasury yields higher and added to earlier dollar gains.
Fed funds futures showed expectations of a 25 basis point hike at the end of a two-day policy meeting on July 26 rose to 88.7%, according to CME Group’s (NASDAQ:CME) FedWatch Tool.
The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of six others, including the euro and Japan’s yen, rose 0.262%.
The Fed will likely increase rates in July after the hawkish pause last month baring any surprises, said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist for LPL Financial (NASDAQ:LPLA). The jobs report on Friday will be parsed for any signs the labor market is weakening, he said.
“A very interested statement within these minutes reveal that job growth may actually be weaker than indicated by payroll employment,” Roach said in a note.
The Labor Department report is expected to show the U.S. economy will have added 225,000 jobs in June, and that the unemployment rate edged down to 3.6% last month, according to a Reuters poll.
“The economy looks resilient overall, but manufacturing has been in this funk for eight months and counting and we’ll have to see if that leads the Fed to signal that it’s not far from the end of its tightening cycle,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Convera in Washington.
The euro fell 0.21% to $1.0854.
The dollar rose to around 144.48 yen, but was still below the 145 threshold that prompted intervention by Japanese authorities last autumn. The greenback had last week briefly popped as high as 145.07 for the first time since November.
The dollar-yen rate has broadly moved in sync with the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield, which rose to 3.9375% after the Fed minutes were released.
Shusuke Yamada, chief forex and rates strategist at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) in Tokyo, said the market is paying attention to the potential risk of intervention but over the medium term is looking for further downside for the yen.
“We don’t see a very high probability that the Ministry of Finance will intervene at the same level as last year – and if the move is not rapid, below 150 we might not see intervention at all,” he said.
Australia’s dollar fell in line with the Chinese yuan after data showed China’s services activity expanded at the slowest pace for five months in June, the latest sign of a sputtering post-pandemic recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
The Australian dollar fell 0.5% to $0.6658 for a fifth day of losses.
Prior to the Chinese services data, the Aussie had been slightly firmer following another stronger yuan fixing from the People’s Bank of China, fueling bets for imminent policy support from Beijing.
The yuan rebounded a touch, up 0.37% at 7.2611.