Dollar prices climbed to a two-week peak versus a currency basket on Friday, as concerns about the Italian budget weighed on the euro while the greenback drew support from an outlook for multiple U.S. interest rate hikes until 2020.
The U.S. dollar also rose to a nine-month high against the yen. For the third quarter, the dollar index, a gauge of its value against six major currencies, was on track to post its second consecutive quarterly gain, rising 0.5 percent. For the last six months, the greenback has advanced nearly 6 percent.
.”The reasons why the U.S. dollar was going up in the first place have not changed,” said John Taylor, president of global macro research firm Taylor Global Vision in New York. “Rising U.S. rates at the same time the global economy is showing signs of slowing down and the ongoing trade war still provides a major barrier for any cyclically-sensitive currency, whether it’s an emerging or developed market currency,” he added.
In afternoon trading, the dollar index rose 0.3 percent to 95.13, rising for three straight sessions. The dollar rose to a nine-month peak versus the yen of 113.66 yen, and was last up 0.2 percent at 113.57 yen.
U.S. data on Friday all supported the view of an economy that is on a stable growth path. U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month after an unrevised 0.4 percent gain in July, while a measure of underlying inflation remained at the Fed’s 2 percent target for a fourth straight month.
The Chicago Purchasing Management index for September was 60.4, slightly lower than the consensus forecast. The U.S. consumer sentiment index for September, on the other hand, was slightly lower than forecast at 100.1, but still the highest since March.
The euro, meanwhile, slipped below $1.16 for the first time in two weeks after Italy’s government agreed on a budget seen by some investors as defying Brussels. The euro was last down 0.3 percent at $1.1612.
Political wrangling over the budget in heavily indebted Italy has put a lid on a recent revival in the euro’s fortunes against the dollar.
The euro posted its biggest one-day decline for nearly two months on Thursday as the battle over fiscal policy intensified in the euro zone’s third-largest economy.
Financial markets are nervous that the Italy’s spending plans will boost the country’s debt, which is already the second highest in the euro zone as a share of economic output after Greece, near 131 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The government is targeting a budget deficit at 2.4 percent of GDP, inside the 3 percent ceiling prescribed by European Union rules.