Dollar gains as U.S. outlook positive in data-heavy week

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The dollar rose on Monday, reversing the previous session's losses, as the currency benefited from a generally positive U.S. backdrop such as rising interest rates, at a time when other major central banks are either on hold or in policy-easing mode.

"We think U.S. fundamentals remain solid, may improve further still, if the president can make some quick progress on tax reform," said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.

He said U.S. interest rates are poised to continue rising steadily this year, even if Federal Reserve officials said the Fed is in no particular rush to tighten policy.

What's driving the dollar?

U.S. construction spending and manufacturing data on Monday were positive overall, affirming the economy's steady improvement. Construction spending grew 0.8 percent to $1.19 trillion, the highest level since April 2006.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index, on the other hand, was 57.2 in March, with components such as the prices paid and manufacturing indexes notching their highest readings since May and June 2011, respectively.

The dollar's gain has also been helped by the euro's early struggles on Monday. The euro hit a three-week low against the dollar mixed economic data coming out of Europe added to existing worries about political risk in the euro zone.

The single euro zone currency, however, was last up 0.18 percent at $1.0667.

Where the dollar's headed

Despite increasing activity at the fastest rate in nearly six years, euro zone factories struggled to keep up with demand last month, according to a survey that showed them again hiking prices.

On the political front, France will vote in a two-round presidential election at the end this month and the start of May, with investors worried that far-right anti-EU Marine Le Pen could stage a surprise victory.

The dollar index, meanwhile, was up 0.19 percent at 100.54.

Markets are focused this week on the U.S. non-farm payrolls report due Friday for clues on the likely pace of interest rate rises.

Investors are currently pricing in more than a 50 percent chance the central bank will hike interest rates at its June meeting, the second of the three increases expected this calendar year.

"The real focus is going to be in the week ahead given how much data we have coming out ... which of course is absolutely key in trying to assess whether we will see another hike from the Fed in June," said Rabobank currency strategist Christian Lawrence in London.