The dollar hit a four-month high against the euro on Monday, reversing a recent fall after strong labour market data encouraged investors to bring forward their bets on the Federal Reserve reducing its pandemic-era stimulus.
The greenback strengthened as far as $1.1742 to the single currency, extending a 0.6% pop from Friday, when a strong U.S. jobs report stoked bets that a reduction in asset purchases could start this year and higher interest rates could follow as soon as 2022. It later settled at $1.1761.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was down 0.1% on the day as European trading got underway but remained close to four-month highs.
The dollar also climbed as high as 110.37 yen, following a 0.4% rally at the end of last week.
Following the jobs report, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped 8 basis points on Friday to a two-week high of 1.3053%.
“A strong U.S. employment report on Friday triggered a jump in U.S. bond yields, supporting the U.S. dollar higher,” said Alvin Tan, currencies strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
The two previous months’ payrolls growth were also revised higher, and Tan noted that Fed Chair Jerome Powell had signalled jobs growth as the key indicator for the central bank’s evaluation of the economy’s progress. Fed officials have made a jobs market recovery a condition of tighter monetary policy.
Friday’s non-farm payroll report showed jobs increased by 943,000 in July compared with the 870,000 forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. Numbers for May and June were also revised up.
“The strong U.S. report appears to clear the last hurdle for the Fed’s tapering,” Mizuho Bank strategist Ken Cheung wrote in a research note.
Cheung said market participants had pushed forward the Fed’s tapering announcement to as early as the Jackson Hole symposium in late August.
There were signs of the dollar spike fizzling and markets were generally quiet, with investors warily eyeing a rise in COVID-19 cases across Asia.
The dollar was little changed versus the offshore Chinese yuan after rallying on Friday.
Sterling was flat at $1.3880 after earlier falling to $1.3856 as the dollar rallied across the board.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; Editing by David Holmes)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Restaurant and hotel owners struggling to fill jobs. Supply-chain delays forcing up prices for small businesses. Unemployed Americans unable to find work even with job openings at a record high.
Those and other disruptions to the U.S. economy — consequences of the viral pandemic that erupted 18 months ago — appear likely to endure, a group of business owners and nonprofit executives told Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Friday.
The business challenges, described during a “Fed Listens” virtual roundtable, underscore the ways that the COVID-19 outbreak and its delta variant are continuing to transform the U.S. economy. Some participants in the event said their business plans were still evolving. Others complained of sluggish sales and fluctuating fortunes after the pandemic eased this summer and then intensified in the past two months.
“We are really living in unique times,” Powell said at the end of the discussion. “I’ve never seen these kinds of supply-chain issues, never seen an economy that combines drastic labor shortages with lots of unemployed people. … So, it’s a very fast changing economy. It’s going to be quite different from the one (before).”
The Fed chair asked Cheetie Kumar, a restaurant owner in Raleigh, North Carolina, why she has had such trouble finding workers. Powell’s question goes to the heart of the Fed’s mandate of maximizing employment, because many people who were working before the pandemic lost jobs and are no longer looking for one. When — or whether — these people resume their job hunts will help determine when the Fed can conclude that the economy has achieved maximum employment.
Kumar told Powell that many of her former employees have decided to permanently leave the restaurant industry.
“I think a lot of people wanted to make life changes, and we lost a lot of people to different industries,” she said. “I think half of our folks decided to go back to school.”
Kumar said her restaurant now pays a minimum of $18 an hour, and she added that higher wages are likely a long-term change for the restaurant industry.
“We cannot get by and pay people $13 an hour and expect them to stay with us for years and years,” Kumar said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
Loren Nalewanski, a vice president at Marriott Select Brands, said his company is losing housekeepers to other jobs that have recently raised pay. Even the recent cutoff of a $300-a-week federal unemployment supplement, he said, hasn’t led to an increase in job applicants.
“People have left the industry and unfortunately they’re finding other things to do,” Nalewanski said. “Other industries that didn’t pay as much perhaps … are (now) paying a lot more.”
Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press
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