Dollar Firm against Yen After Yellen’s Comments

Big 5

The dollar remained firm against the yen during Asian trading Monday after hitting a seven-month high following comments Friday by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen.

In late Asia trading, the dollar USDJPY, -0.23% was at ¥104.23 from ¥104.25 late in New York trading Friday. It hit a fresh high of ¥104.49 early Monday in Asia.

During a speech to central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the Fed chairwoman acknowledged that the U.S. economy has made significant progress in recovering from the financial crisis that peaked in 2008, but that the labor market continues to lag. Ms. Yellen reiterated that should consumer prices and wages rise, the Fed could increase rates sooner than the mid-2015 timeline that the market expects.

“It was a balanced speech, and she took into consideration the opinions of more hawkish members of the Fed by indicating that an earlier increase in rates remained in the cards, depending on the situation,” said Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo.

Mr. Ishikawa said the pair’s next resistance is ¥104.50, where selling offers are stacked up. “If this level is breached, stop-loss orders could be triggered,” he said.

Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citigroup Global Markets Japan, said the dollar was on a strengthening trend and could eventually test this year’s high at around ¥105.40.

“The current rise in the pair isn’t led by yen weakness, but by dollar strength,” he said, noting that volatility in the options market remained small, indicating yen-selling wasn’t especially picking up.

“The dollar could fall toward ¥103.80 on adjustments, but I think it’s looking toward testing the high of the year,” he said.

The focus this week will be on U.S. indicators, particularly housing data. July new home sales will come out later Monday, while the June FHFA housing price index, the June S&P/Case-Shiller HPI and July pending home sales will come out Tuesday.

The euro EURUSD, +0.03% was at $1.3205 from $1.3195 and at ¥137.65 from ¥137.60.

The WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, +0.14% , a measure of the dollar against a basket of major currencies, was up 0.21% at 74.69.

Source: MarketWatch