US dollar jumps against Singdollar after Fed increases rate hike projections

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference following day two of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington on Dec 14, 2016.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference following day two of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington on Dec 14, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
US dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration.
US dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration.PHOTO: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Dec 9, 2016.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Dec 9, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The US dollar jumped overnight against the Singapore currency and hovered near a 14-year peak against a basket of major currencies on Thursday (Dec 15), receiving a major boost after the Federal Reserve increased the number of projected interest rate hikes for 2017.

At 8.30am on Thursday (Dec 15), one US dollar was worth S$1.4432, up 1.4 per cent from its close on Wednesday of S$1.4237.

In a closely watched decision late Wednesday, the US central bank raised the target federal funds rate by 25 basis points to between 0.50 per cent and 0.75 per cent.

The rate hike was fully expected by the financial markets and the real mover came from the Fed signalling three hikes in 2017, up from around two flagged at its September policy meeting.

The dollar index stood at 102.17 after rising to 102.350 late on Wednesday, its highest since January 2003. The euro was down 0.2 per cent at US$1.0513 after sliding overnight to US$1.0497, a trough not seen in 21 months.

 
 
 

The greenback surged more than 1.5 per cent overnight to a 10-month high of 117.400 yen and was last at 117.190.

The dollar's push above 117 yen came after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that the rate increase was a "very modest adjustment in the path of the fed funds rate". This was seen by investors as an endorsement of the Fed signalling a faster pace of rate increases in 2017.

"The rate hike projections for 2017 being increased to three shows that Fed's board is having to factor in the impact of Trump's policies," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

The Fed's policy decision came as US President-elect Donald Trump's administration takes over with promises to boost growth through tax cuts, spending and deregulation.

"The focus now falls on US equities and whether they can withstand the surging dollar and Treasury yields. If not, we could see the Trump camp warn against the appreciation of the dollar," Ishikawa said.

Following the Fed's move, the 10-year Treasury note yield vaulted to its highest level since September 2014, coming close to 2.6 per cent, while Wall Street shares fell the most in two months.

Treasury yields, a key driver of the dollar's recent surge, have been climbing relentlessly since November on prospects of Trump administering reflationary policies through massive fiscal spending.

The Australian dollar was down 0.1 per cent at US$0.7400 , adding to losses of 1.2 per cent suffered the previous day.

The pound was down 0.3 per cent at US$1.2524 after hitting a two-week low of US$1.2515.

With additional information from The Straits Times