The dollar managed to hit an 8-month high against the yen on Monday in Asia after the BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda signaled a continuation of the current ultra-easy monetary policy, while persistent confidence on the US economy supported the pair as well. Oil recorded a substantial increase, rising to a two-year high amid tightening markets and as anti-corruption measures took effect in Saudi Arabia.
With the economic calendar lacking important data, the dollar index which gauges the dollar’s strength against a basket of major currencies was on track to break the 95-key level as investors’ expectations of a third Fed-rate hike in December remained high despite a string of mixed data released on Friday.
Against the yen, the greenback touched an 8-month high of 114.72 before it pulled back to 114.37 following dovish remarks by the BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda early in the session. Kuroda claimed that the current ultra-easy monetary policy is accommodative for inflation to reach the BOJ’s 2% target, while he added that the central bank was considering long-term risks arising from low-interest rates. Minutes from the BOJ’s September meeting showed that a majority of policymakers held the same view, believing that the current policy is sufficient to drive inflation towards the target.
The euro was trading flat around $1.16 ahead of Markit PMI readings and the Sentix index out of the Eurozone later today, with political uncertainties in Spain continuing to weigh on the currency.
The pound was moving sideways around $1.3075, with traders expecting the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, to calm business leaders’ fears on cliff-edge Brexit on Monday, showing her commitment to reach a deal on the transitional period.
In other commodities, the kiwi fell 0.32% versus the dollar to $0.6885 with markets anticipating the RBNZ to maintain rates at a record low of 1.75% on Thursday and the new government to reveal its policy plans. Its Australian cousin held steady at $0.7650 ahead of the RBA policy meeting on Tuesday, where policymakers are projected to leave interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.5%.
Looking at commodities, oil prices jumped to a two-year high on signs that markets are under tightening conditions, while arrests of royals and ministers in Saudi Arabia demanded by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an effort to limit corruption in the country added further gains to oil prices. WTI crude was up by 0.84% at $56.11 per barrel and London-based Brent increased by 0.95% to $62.66.
Gold stood flat at $1,269.50 per ounce.