Dollar rebounds after Fed's Williams adds support for rate hike

Japanese yen
John Phillips | Digital Editor for

The U.S. dollar rebounded from nearly eight-week lows against the euro and Swiss franc on Friday a day after a top Federal Reserve official joined a growing chorus signaling support for a U.S. interest rate hike in coming months.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams on Thursday said that, if the U.S. central bank waited too long to raise rates, it could be costly for the economy and that a possible rate hike in September should be in play.

Those comments added to statements perceived as hawkish from New York Fed President William Dudley and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart in recent days. They also came after an essay the San Francisco Fed chief published this week calling for a recalibration of the Fed's long-term goals, which had fueled some speculation this week that the Fed would not raise rates this year.

While the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was last up 0.30 percent at 94.46, it remained on track for a more than 1 percent decline for the week given that skepticism over a 2016 Fed rate hike.

"(Williams') comments have provided the market with a little bit of an excuse to take some profits on the dollar declines," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc in Washington, in reference to profit-taking on "short" bets against the dollar.

Federal funds futures on Friday suggested traders saw a 53.5 percent chance of a Fed rate hike this year, according to CME Group's FedWatch program. Analysts were also awaiting the Fed's annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming next week.

Analysts said the profit-taking on bets against the dollar was also fueled by nervousness about having too big a bet against the U.S. currency ahead of the weekend.

"The dollar had taken a pretty big tumble in the first part of this week, so people had gotten short the dollar and now they're just buying back because it's the weekend," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

The euro was last down 0.14 percent against the dollar at $1.1326, below a nearly eight-week high of $1.1365 touched Thursday. The dollar was up 0.54 percent against the Swiss franc at 0.9594 franc after hitting a low of 0.9532 Thursday.

Against the , the dollar was last up 0.04 percent at 100.14 yen.

Growing chorus