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Dollar hits 1-month high as Fed officials talk up rate hikes


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TOKYO — The U.S. dollar climbed to a fresh one-month high against a basket of major peers on Friday as Federal Reserve policymakers continued to talk up the need for further interest rate hikes ahead of their key Jackson Hole symposium next week.

The dollar index rose 0.121% to 107.620, after earlier touching 107.68, its highest since July 18. The gauge is on track for a 1.89% rally this week, which would be its best weekly performance since June 12.

The greenback rose to 136.38 yen for the first time since July 28, while the euro dipped to $1.00735, the weakest since July 15. Sterling sank to $1.1905, its weakest since July 21.

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St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he is leaning toward supporting a third straight 75-basis-point interest rate hike in September, while San Francisco Fed colleague Mary Daly said hiking rates by 50 or 75 basis points next month would be “reasonable.”

Kansas City Fed President Esther George said she and her colleagues will not stop tightening policy until they are “completely convinced” that overheated inflation is coming down.

The dollar is “smartly higher” with central bank officials “all making clear the Fed still has work to do raising rates,” even as they differed on by how much, Ray Attrill, the head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank in Sydney, wrote in a client note.

“It’s hard to pin European currency weakness on specific news, albeit the case for more weakness on relative (global) economic grounds has been blindingly obvious for weeks.”

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The euro is on course to decline 1.71% since last Friday, which would be its worst week since July 8. Sterling is set for a 1.80% drop, its biggest weekly tumble since May 6.

European currencies failed to get a lift from renewed inflation fears putting pressure regional central banks to keep tightening policy, instead worrying about risks of recession.

European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel fueled inflation worries overnight by saying consumer prices could still accelerate in the short term. British price growth hit double digits on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, despite the Fed chorus on the need for higher rates, the odds of another supersized 75 basis point hike next month have receded to 40% in money markets.

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However, consumer price inflation and jobs data for August, due before the Fed’s September meeting, will likely affect the scale of tightening.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will have a chance to update the market on his views at the annual Jackson Hole symposium on Aug. 25-27.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar fell 0.26% versus the greenback at $0.690, and touched $0.6898 for the first time since Aug. 5. The New Zealand dollar lost 0.40% to $0.6240, after dipping to $0.6229, also the lowest since Aug. 5.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin fell 2.28% to $22,880.00. Ethereum was down 3.09% to $1,819.44.

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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