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Thursday May 29, 2008 - 21:40:04 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar climbs to three-month high vs yen on GDP data

 

Thu May 29, 2008 4:17pm EDT

(Adds details, updates prices)

* Dollar rallies broadly on hawkish Fed comments

* U.S. bond yields rise

* U.S. 1st-quarter GDP growth revised upward

NEW YORK, May 29 (Reuters) - The dollar rallied on Thursday, rising to a three-month high against the yen, on data showing the U.S. economy grew in the first quarter faster than previously estimated and as hawkish Federal Reserve comments boosted expectations for an interest rate increase this year.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said on Wednesday the the Fed -- the U.S. central bank -- could increase benchmark rates "sooner rather than later" if inflation expectations worsen. The comments prompted a jump in short-dated U.S. Treasury yields on Thursday.

Demand for the greenback accelerated after the government said the U.S. economy grew at an upwardly revised 0.9 percent pace in the first quarter, slightly better than previously estimated. For details see [ID:nN28432824].

"The mix of growth in the first quarter looks healthier," said Stephen Malyon, senior currency strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto. "It maintains the bullish bias for the dollar that we saw get underway yesterday following the hawkish comments from Fisher yesterday evening."

In late New York trading, the euro was trading 0.8 percent lower at $1.5506 <EUR=>, the lowest in little over a week. The dollar last traded 0.9 percent higher against the yen at 105.55 <JPY=> retreating from a three-month high of 105.87.

"The data should help the dollar trend higher," said Nick Bennenbroek, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo in New York.

The dollar rose 0.7 percent on the day to 73.023 against a basket of six currencies .DXY.

Two-year Treasury yields <US2YT=RR> earlier surged to 2.791 percent, their highest since Jan. 8, according to Reuters data, following Fisher's comments. [ID:nN2852973].

"Fear of inflation is helping push Treasury yields higher and in turn, make European assets less attractive," said Greg Salvaggio, a currency trader at Tempus Consulting in Washington. "It just feeds on this somewhat bullish sentiment on the dollar."

Buoyant U.S. stocks .DJI and a $4 a barrel drop in the price of oil CLc1 added to investor enthusiasm for the dollar.

INFLATION WORRIES

Data on Wednesday showing U.S. durable goods orders fell by a smaller-than-expected 0.5 percent last month bolstered a view that the Fed may have left its aggressive campaign to ease monetary policy behind it for now after slashing target borrowing costs to 2 percent.

The hawkish comments from Fisher and Minneapolis Fed President Gary Stern, who said that the Fed must quit its monetary easing campaign at some point, suggested that inflation risks were not far away from policymakers' minds. (Reporting by Nick Olivari, Vivianne Rodrigues and Steven C. Johnson; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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