The dollar approached the strongest in almost nine months versus the euro as signs the U.S. economy is strengthening and tensions over Ukraine are increasing boosted the appeal of American assets.
A gauge of the greenback climbed toward the highest since February after data yesterday showed factory orders and service activity increased and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said his fellow policy makers were becoming more “hawkish.” Poland said a buildup of Russian troops on the Ukraine border raises the specter of a possible invasion. New Zealand’s dollar slid to a two-month low after job growth slowed more than economists forecast and dairy prices fell.
“A strong batch of U.S. data helped the U.S. dollar’s cause,” said Imre Speizer, a markets strategist based in Auckland at Westpac Banking Corp. “There was also a good dose of risk aversion last night, and that would’ve helped the U.S. dollar as well.”
The dollar gained 0.1 percent to $1.3368 per euro as of 1:13 p.m. in Tokyo after advancing to $1.3358 yesterday, the strongest since Nov. 11. The U.S. currency was little changed at 102.56 yen. The yen appreciated 0.1 percent to 137.11 per euro.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against 10 major counterparts, rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,023.45 after climbing to 1,024.01 yesterday, the highest since Feb. 13.
The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index expanded in July at the fastest pace since December 2005, the group said yesterday. Factory orders climbed 1.1 percent in June, almost twice as much as predicted in a Bloomberg News survey, after falling a revised 0.6 percent the previous month, the Census Bureau said.
The Federal Open Market Committee “is coming in my direction,” Fisher said in an interview with Fox Business Network yesterday. The Dallas Fed president said he has a “hawkish slant” on monetary policy.
Fisher is trying to help out the dollar “with his usual hawkish comments,” Emma Lawson, a senior currency strategist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Sydney, wrote today in a client note. “It seems the market may just be swinging around to believe him.”
Traders are willing to pay a premium for one-month options to buy the dollar against all of its 16 major counterparts, 25-delta risk reversals show.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to prepare a response to U.S. and European sanctions. He has shown no sign of backing down over Ukraine, with Russia massing forces on its neighbor’s border in the biggest military buildup since troops were withdrawn from the area in May.
The dollar has strengthened 1.7 percent in the past month, the best performer of 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The yen gained 1.2 percent, while the euro fell 0.2 percent.
The kiwi dropped for a second day after Statistics New Zealand said employment increased 0.4 percent in the second quarter, less than the median estimate of 0.7 percent growth among economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
“Before this report, there was a bias to sell the kiwi dollar,” Westpac’s Speizer said. “This gives the market an excuse to go and do some more.”
The currency also weakened after GlobalDairyTrade said whole milk powder prices tumbled 11.5 percent at auction yesterday to a two-year low. That extended the decline to 46 percent from a peak in February.
The New Zealand dollar declined 0.4 percent to 84.35 U.S. cents after sliding to 84.24 cents, the weakest since June 5. - Bloomberg