October 19, 2017 / 1:02 AM / a year ago

FOREX-Dollar sets 2-week high vs yen, supported by rise in US yields

* Dollar/yen touches highest level since Oct. 6

* Rise in U.S. bond yields help support greenback

* Aussie dollar firmer after solid Australia jobs data

* Focus on Trump’s choice for next Fed chair

By Masayuki Kitano

SINGAPORE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The dollar hit its highest in about two weeks versus the yen on Thursday, supported by this week’s rise in U.S. bond yields, with the near-term focus on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on the next chair of the Federal Reserve.

The dollar rose to as high as 113.095 yen in early Asian trade, its strongest level since Oct. 6. The dollar last changed hands at 112.92 yen, steady from late U.S. trade on Wednesday.

This week’s rise in U.S. bond yields have helped lend support to the greenback. The two-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to their highest since November 2008 on Wednesday on the back of expectations for tighter global monetary policy.

The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield touched a one-week high of 2.352 percent on Wednesday, and last stood at 2.341 percent, having risen six basis points so far this week.

With the Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates for the third time this year in December, markets are now looking for clarity on who will lead the U.S. central bank after Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires next February.

President Donald Trump will announce his decision on who will be the chair of the Federal Reserve in the “coming days,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday.

Trump has an interview scheduled on Thursday with current Chair Yellen. She is one of five candidates Trump is considering for the job.

The dollar has gained a boost this week after Stanford University economist John Taylor emerged as a major candidate for the next Fed chair.

“If it turns out to be Taylor, that is likely to trigger selling of (U.S.) bonds, at least initially,” said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.

The dollar could edge higher against the yen under that scenario, Okagawa added.

Taylor is known as a proponent of a rule-based monetary policy and according to his formula, known as the Taylor rule, the Fed funds rate needs to be much higher than the current target of 1.0-1.25 percent.

Thus there is speculation that the Fed may start raising interest rates at a faster pace, if Taylor becomes the Fed chief.

The euro edged up 0.2 percent to $1.1810. One focus for the euro is the European Central Bank’s policy meeting coming up next week.

The Australian dollar edged higher after Australian jobs data for September came in stronger than expected.

The Australian dollar rose 0.2 percent to $0.7865, pulling away from Wednesday’s intraday low of $0.7819.

Against the yen, the Australian dollar rose to 88.87 yen at one point, its highest level since late September.

Later on Thursday, investors will turn their focus to China’s third-quarter gross domestic product data.

China is expected on Thursday to post a modest slowdown in third quarter economic growth from the previous quarter as the government’s efforts to rein in the property market and debt risks weigh on activity in the world’s second-largest economy. (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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