The Euro climbed against the Dollar for the third straight session on Thursday and was on track for its biggest daily rise against the Yen in three weeks as investors rediscovered a taste for risk.
Analysts said expectations of more interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve to shield the US economy from housing and credit market woes boosted high-yield currencies.
The Bank of Japan's decision on Thursday to hold rates at 0.5% also emboldened investors to extend carry trades, which use cheaply borrowed Yen to buy higher-yielding assets. Investors feel comfortable taking on more risk because there's a lot of faith now in the Fed, which has shown it's willing to fight for the economy, said analysts.
The Fed slashed interest rates by half a percentage point in September, and while the odds of another cut this month have receded somewhat, markets still see a roughly 70% percent chance of more easing by year-end.
Yesterday, EurUsd had climbed as high as 1.4242 but eased slightly after European Central Bank Governing Council member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo said 4% euro-zone interest rates are appropriate. The EurJpy rose as high as 167.64 before easing to 166.80. The UsdJpy hit a two-month peak at 117.79, before easing to 117.47. The Euro also climbed 0.3% to 1.6791 against Swiss francs and gained 0.72% against Sterling to 69.84, its biggest one-day rally since March. The high-yielding Australian Dollar pushed to 0.9061 high, a 23-year peak. The New Zealand Dollar rose 1.25% against the dollar to 0.7722. Both currencies gained against the Yen.
European policy-makers have worried in recent weeks that a stronger Euro will undermine growth. With the Group of Seven richest countries set to meet next week, some have urged Washington to reaffirm its strong Dollar policy, something US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson did on Thursday. "A strong dollar is in our nation's interest," Paulson told as he left a meeting with President George W. Bush. He added that currency values should be set in the marketplace "based on underlying fundamentals." But European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Thursday that euro-zone growth remains robust despite recent financial market volatility.
US trade deficit narrowed more than expected in August, suggesting a weaker Dollar may be aiding the economy by boosting exports. However, the dollar remained under pressure as investors braced for more Fed cuts due to uncertainty about the US outlook and fear that the economy will be hit again by the global credit crisis.