Dollar Posts Weekly Gains as U.S. Data Support Pace of Fed Taper

New York (Apr 19)  The dollar posted weekly gains against the euro and the yen as improvements in economic data strengthened the case for the Federal Reserve to remove stimulus this year.

The pound was near a four-year high before the Bank of England releases minutes on April 23 of this month’s meeting. The New Zealand dollar recorded its biggest weekly decline since January before the nation’s central bank meets next week. The won posted its first five-day drop in a month. Currency volatility sank to an almost seven-year low.

“The jobless claims and Philadelphia Fed reports were both good, and the dollar was bid on the back of that,” said Kazuo Shirai, a trader at Union Bank NA in Los Angeles. “If U.S. jobs numbers stay positive, the Fed will probably continue to taper at the current pace.”

The dollar climbed 0.5 percent this week to $1.3813 per euro in New York, the biggest gain since the five days ended March 21. It strengthened 0.8 percent to 102.43 yen, also the largest gain in four weeks, and touched 102.57 yesterday, the strongest level since April 8. The euro appreciated 0.2 percent this week to 141.45 yen.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against 10 major peers, rose 0.4 percent to 1,010.90 since April 11.

U.S. Economy

The Philadelphia Fed’s factory index increased to 16.6 in April, the highest since September, data showed April 17. Initial jobless claims rose by 2,000 to 304,000 in the week ended April 12 from a revised 302,000 the prior period that was the lowest since September 2007, a Labor Department report showed on the same day.

The index of U.S. leading indicators probably rose 0.7 percent in March, the most since November, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News poll before the data are released on April 21.

The Fed began tapering its monthly asset purchases in January, and economists predict the asset-purchase program will end in October.

South Korea’s won posted its first weekly drop in a month on speculation global funds repatriated stock dividends and as improving U.S. economic data bolstered demand for dollars.