NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose to a five-week high against the yen and a six-week peak against the euro on Friday as better-than-expected jobs data reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve could begin scaling back its asset purchases as early as September.
Futures traders were also betting the U.S. central bank will start raising short-term interest rates by September of next year, a step that would make dollar assets more attractive.
Almost all the components of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for June were seen as positive for the economy, suggesting that the labor market was stabilizing. Employers added 195,000 jobs last month compared with forecasts for 165,000, while the unemployment rate was steady at 7.6 percent as more people entered the workforce.
The U.S. Labor Department also revised payrolls for April and May to show 70,000 more jobs created than previously reported.
“The stronger-than-expected 195,000 payrolls in June should send U.S. rates scurrying higher and bring the day of reckoning for quantitative easing that much closer,” said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets. “The dollar will continue to benefit from the prospective terminus of QE.”
The euro fell as low as $1.2805 against the dollar, its weakest since May 20. It was last trading at $1.2829, down 0.7 percent.
Against the yen, the dollar touched a peak of 101.22 yen, its highest since May 31. It was last at 101.15, up 1.1 percent.
Some $5.1 billion in euros changed hands, according to Reuters Dealing data, and $2.6 billion in yen.
The euro fell against the dollar for the third straight week with a 1.4 percent decline in the week. The dollar also gained against the yen for the third straight week with an almost 2 percent rise so far this week.
The greenback’s gains pushed the dollar index .DXY to a high of 84.530, a near three-year peak. By late afternoon, the dollar index was up 1.4 percent at 84.433.
The Fed’s potential reduction of stimulus measures was in sharp contrast with statements from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, which vowed on Thursday to keep their monetary policies accommodative for some time.
“The Federal Open Market Committee Minutes due out on July 10 may heighten the appeal of the greenback as the central bank turns increasingly upbeat towards the economy, and we may see a growing number of Fed officials adopt a more hawkish tone for monetary policy as they anticipate a stronger recovery in the second half of the year,” said David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX.
The spread between the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond’s yield and comparable German Bunds was at its widest since April 2010, pointing to more gains for the dollar.
Sterling, meanwhile, fell to a nearly four-month low against the U.S. dollar of $1.4856 and was last at $1.4895, down 1.2 percent.
Reporting by Nick Olivari and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; editing by G Crosse