U.S. Markets

Dollar hovers at three-week high as bets for deep U.S. rate cut fade

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar edged up on Monday, hovering at a three-week high, as it held onto gains after news of a stronger-than-expected increase in U.S. jobs in June scaled back traders’ expectations of a sharp Federal Reserve rate cut at the end of July.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen in this November 7, 2016 picture illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Traders await Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s two-day testimony before Congress, which starts on Wednesday for clues about a rate decrease.

“Foreign-exchange markets started the week on a quiet note, with currencies trading in tight ranges, as traders shifted their focus from Friday’s strong U.S. payrolls data to testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell,” said Ellis Phifer, senior market strategist at Raymond James.

Among emerging market currencies, the Turkish lira fell steeply after President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the central bank governor, sparking worries about the bank’s independence.

U.S. non-farm payrolls rebounded in June, rising the most in five months, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The solid job gain slashed expectations of a 50 basis-point rate cut at the Fed’s July 30-31 policy meeting, although modest wage gains and other data showing the U.S. economy was losing steam point to a quarter-point rate cut.

“We do expect a July rate cut,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at Oanda in Toronto. “The data have been mixed. They’re not terrible. They’re not great.”

(GRAPHIC-Bets on bold first rate-cut from the Fed:

In late U.S. trading, the dollar index .DXY was up 0.07% at 97.357, which was close to a three-week high of 97.443 hit on Friday.

The greenback’s rebound follows a period of weakness as mounting expectations for Fed rate cuts weighed.

The dollar strengthened 0.18% to 108.675 yen JPY=EBS after hitting 108.73, which was the highest since June 11.

The euro EUR=EBS was marginally lower at $1.1215 after hitting $1.1208 EUR=EBS on Friday, which was the lowest since Jan. 3.

The common currency has been under pressure from dollar strength and weakness in the German industrial sector.

The British pound, which hit a six-month low below $1.25 on Friday after poor economic data and on heightened expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates in 2020, fell 0.15% to $1.2516 GBP=D3.

Turkey's lira at one point slid to a two-week low of 5.8245 to the dollar TRYTOM=D3 and was last down 1.91% at 5.742 after Erdogan dismissed the central bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya.

In a written statement on Saturday, new governor Murat Uysal, Cetinkaya’s deputy, said he would implement monetary policy instruments independently with a focus on achieving and maintaining the primary objective of price stability.

(This story corrects Powell’s testimony to start on Wednesday not Tuesday in paragraph 2)

Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in LONDON; Editing by Lisa Shumaker