Dollar hits one-month high vs yen on Fed rate hike bets

US-dollars being counted at the Korea Exchange bank.
Chung Sung-Jun | Getty Images
US-dollars being counted at the Korea Exchange bank.

The U.S. dollar rose to three-week highs against a basket of currencies on Wednesday after data showed that jobs gains in August were roughly in line with expectations, before paring gains on weak manufacturing data.

Hawkish comments by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Vice Chair Stanley Fischer last week increased expectations the U.S. central bank is moving closer to an interest rate hike.

Fischer has said that jobs data for August due on Friday will be a consideration on when the Fed raises rates. Employers are expected to have added 180,000 jobs in August, according to the median estimate of 89 economists polled by Reuters.

The greenback rose to session highs after the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers adding 177,000 jobs in August, slightly above the 175,000 forecast by a Reuters survey of economists.

Private payroll gains in July were revised up to 194,000 from 179,000.

"The upward revision was encouraging, for the actual month of August it was pretty close to expectations," said Richard Franulovich, a senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corporation in New York.

"For the time being the narrative is pretty dollar bullish," Franulovich said.

The dollar pared gains, however, after the Chicago PMI index fell in August, and missed economists expectations.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of six majors, rose as high as to 96.255, its highest level since Aug. 9. The dollar index was last down 0.02 percent to 96.02.

The greenback gained against the yen to 103.44, after earlier hitting 103.53, the highest level since July 29.

The dollar also hit three-week highs against the euro, after data on Wednesday showed that euro zone inflation was stable in August, against expectations of a slight rise, piling more pressure on the European Central Bank to act.

The euro weakened to $1.1152, the lowest since Aug. 10, before recovering back to $1.1161.

The ECB has been buying 80 billion euros ($89.2 billion) worth of assets a month to pump money into the economy. Interest rates have been cut below zero and free loans offered to banks.

Most investors do not expect further policy measures when the ECB's rate-setting Governing Council meets next week, though Westpac's Franulovich noted that the recent string of weak data has increased speculation that a further easing could be possible.