Dollar-yen to extend rally, December taper not ruled out
The U.S. dollar will likely extend its rally against the Japanese yen this week after a forecast-beating November jobs report built the case for an early withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus measures, possibly as soon as this month, a CNBC survey shows.
According to CNBC's latest currency market sentiment poll of currency traders, analysts and strategists, 63 percent (12 out of 19) of respondents believe the U.S. dollar will rise this week.
Nearly 32 percent (6 out of 19 respondents) say the dollar will fall, while one expects the dollar to trade around current levels.
U.S. employers added 203,000 new jobs in November, exceeding expectations, while the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7.0 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday.
However, the greenback rose against the Japanese yen, hitting a session peak of 102.93, not far from a six-month high of 103.37 yen set earlier last week.
U.S. Treasury prices retreated following the data, sending the benchmark 10-year yield to 2.85 percent at the close, indicating the bond market at least may be sensing an earlier Fed taper. Higher yields in turn helped fuel the move in the dollar against the yen amid the greenback's decline against its European counterparts.
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The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's monetary policy-setting body) will agree at its January 28-29 meeting to start cutting bond purchases while an earlier move at the December 17-18 FOMC meeting "should not be ruled out" either, according to UBS.
"In our view currency markets have become too pessimistic on the dollar's near-term prospects," UBS' Chief Currency Strategist Mansoor Mohi-uddin said in a commentary after the payrolls. The Fed is "increasingly close to tapering," he added. "Don't sell dollars."
However, the divergent reactions in the major currency pairings on Friday suggest currency markets are still not entirely convinced that the Fed may wind down bond purchases in December or January despite Friday's upbeat jobs numbers.
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"The report does not seem to have made a decisive case for a December tapering," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York. "The market is still centered on a January to March tapering, with which I broadly concur.
The initial U.S. dollar strength in response to the report was quickly reversed and, in the near-term, the U.S. dollar may trade with a defensive tone."
— By CNBC's Sri Jegarajah. Follow him on Twitter @cnbcsri