Dollar falls against yen, gains on euro in choppy trading

By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The dollar dipped against the Japanese yen on Thursday on expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next year, but rebounded from earlier losses against the euro in choppy trading.

The greenback has declined as expectations of rate cuts have increased, notably after the Fed’s unexpectedly dovish stance at its December meeting.

Markets see the Fed’s first rate cut coming in March and are pricing in 155 basis points of easing by next December.

“The market has gotten even more aggressive on Fed easing,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex in New York.

But trading this week is volatile with thin volumes and many investors having closed their books for the year.

The dollar dropped as low as 140.27 yen, its lowest level since July 28, and was last down 0.28% on the day at 141.42.

The move came as investors appeared to close short positions in popular funding currencies such as the yen, in which hedge funds and other investors use the proceeds from selling a currency to invest in other assets.

Investors short the funding currencies “are evening up,” said Chandler. “This year it’s been a story of Fed tightening and BOJ teasing the market with the tweaking of the yield curve adjustment. Next year the position is going to be reversed, the market expects the BOJ to raise rates, and the Fed to ease rates. A fundamental driver’s going to change.”

Net shorts in the yen against the U.S. dollar fell to 64,902 contracts in the latest week ending Dec. 19, compared with 81,131 the previous week, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

With inflation exceeding its 2% target for well over a year, many market players expect the Bank of Japan to raise rates next year with some betting on the chance of action as early as in January.

BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda, however, said he was in no rush to unwind ultra-loose monetary policy as the risk of inflation running well above 2% and accelerating was small, public broadcaster NHK reported on Wednesday.

The greenback remains on track for a 7.86% gain against the Japanese currency this year.

The Swiss franc reached 0.8333 per dollar, its strongest level since January 2015 when the Swiss National Bank discontinued its policy of having a minimum exchange rate against the euro.

The dollar was last up 0.06% at 0.8439 and is on pace for an 8.75% loss against the Swiss currency this year.

The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against six rivals, fell to a fresh five-month low of 100.61, before changing direction to last be up 0.34% on the day at 101.21. The index is on course for a 2.20% decline this year, snapping two straight years of strong gains.

U.S. data on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, indicating the labor market continues to cool in the year’s fourth quarter.

The euro was last down 0.37% at $1.1064, having touched a five-month peak of $1.11395 earlier in the session. The single currency is heading for a yearly gain of 3.26%.

Sterling rose to $1.2825, its highest level since Aug. 1, and was last down 0.57% at $1.2728. The pound is on track for a 5.23% return this year.

Bitcoin fell 2.34% to $42,455.


Currency bid prices at 3:15PM (2015 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change


Dollar index 101.2100 100.8900 +0.34% -2.203% +101.2900 +100.6100

Euro/Dollar $1.1064 $1.1105 -0.37% +3.26% +$1.1140 +$1.1056

Dollar/Yen 141.4200 141.8200 -0.28% +7.86% +141.7000 +140.2700

Euro/Yen 156.47 157.49 -0.65% +11.53% +157.4500 +155.8400

Dollar/Swiss 0.8439 0.8432 +0.06% -8.75% +0.8446 +0.8333

Sterling/Dollar $1.2728 $1.2799 -0.57% +5.23% +$1.2827 +$1.2713

Dollar/Canadian 1.3229 1.3210 +0.15% -2.35% +1.3235 +1.3183

Aussie/Dollar $0.6834 $0.6848 -0.20% +0.26% +$0.6871 +$0.6824

Euro/Swiss 0.9335 0.9361 -0.28% -5.66% +0.9363 +0.9259

Euro/Sterling 0.8691 0.8675 +0.18% -1.73% +0.8714 +0.8670

NZ $0.6331 $0.6341 -0.17% -0.30% +$0.6369 +$0.6325


Dollar/Norway 10.1910 10.1000 +1.05% +3.99% +10.2150 +10.0740

Euro/Norway 11.2780 11.2159 +0.55% +7.47% +11.2980 +11.1925

Dollar/Sweden 9.9884 9.9395 +0.19% -4.03% +10.0009 +9.9113

Euro/Sweden 11.0500 11.0289 +0.19% -0.89% +11.0613 +11.0161

(Reporting by Karen Brettell in New YorkAdditional reporting by Alun John in LondonEditing by Christina Fincher and Matthew Lewis)