Euro Close To a Three-Week Top, Yet Approaching Fed Fixing Could Help The Dollar

Euro Close To a Three-Week Top, Yet Approaching Fed Fixing Could Help The Dollar

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The euro was near Friday's three-week high on Monday morning, after the European Central Bank's hawkish turn last week. Still, analysts said further short-term gains looked less likely with looming Fed tightening supporting the dollar.

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Meanwhile, in cryptocurrency markets, Bitcoin held around a two-week high.

Investors this week will be watching for U.S. inflation data due Thursday, with a strong reading cementing expectations that the Fed will raise rates at its March meeting and hint at the possibility of a significant 50 basis point rise.

The euro was last at $1.1451, not far from Friday's high of $1.4183, equalling mid-January's top.

The yen was at 115.16 per dollar, and sterling was at $1.35310, both in the middle of their recent ranges.

This left the dollar index at 95.461, having been given a late boost by robust U.S. jobs data Friday at the end of a bruising week for the greenback. It also could gain further in the short term.

"We see the risk of more USD upside in the near-term if interest rate markets price a greater chance of a 50bp hike in March.

But last week's hawkish turn by ECB President Christine Lagarde suggests any upside in the USD will be capped," said Joe Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC: CMWAY), in a morning note.

In the short term, he added, "with little fresh information from Europe likely this week to further boost market pricing for ECB hikes, further material upside to EUR is unlikely."

Markets moved to price in a one-in-three chance the Fed might hike by a total 50 basis points in March following robust U.S. jobs data Friday, suggesting there is a reasonable chance rate will reach 1.5% by year-end.

This pushed U.S. two-year yields higher, and on Monday morning, they were holding firm around a two-year high at 1.32%.

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Benchmark 10-year yields also held onto Friday's gains and were at 1.9049%.

This week, policymakers also give speeches at the Fed and the British, European, Australian, and Canadian central banks.

Klaas Knot, the Dutch Central Bank president and one of the more hawkish members of the ECB's governing council, said he expects a hike in the fourth quarter of this year on Sunday.

Bitcoin was trading at around $41,800, jumping 11% late on Friday.

The Australian dollar was on the back foot at $0.7071, with the Reserve Bank of Australia looking to be at the more dovish end of the central bank spectrum.

The Aussie is also weak against other currencies, and on Friday, touched its lowest since September versus the euro.

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