Dollar Touches Six-Year High on Strong U.S. Retail Sales Data

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Dollar Touches Six-Year High on Strong U.S. Retail Sales DataThe dollar surged to its highest level in six years against the yen after data showed that U.S. retail sales in August grew at the fastest pace in four months, fuelling speculation the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates sooner than expected.

The greenback advanced by up to 0.3 percent to trade at 107.39 yen, its strongest level since Sept. 22, 2008. It later fell to 107.19 yen as of 1:41 p.m. in New York. The euro gained 0.4 percent to 138.94 yen. The shared currency surged 0.3 percent to $1.2962 and rose to $1.2979, its strongest level in one week. The euro had earlier plunged to $1.2860 on Sept. 9, its weakest level since July 2013.

“The retail sales report is consistent with the market’s improving optimism toward the recovery,” Omer Esiner, a Washington-based chief market analyst at currency brokerage Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc, told Bloomberg News. “While it may not send the dollar broadly higher, it’s dollar positive, especially heading into next week’s Fed meeting.”

U.S. retail sales grew 0.6 percent in August, compared with a gain of 0.3 percent in July, reported the Commerce Department.

Meanwhile, the ruble fell after the European Union imposed harsher sanctions on 15 Russian firms, such as banning OAO Rosneft, OAO Transneft and OAO Gazprom Neft from obtaining funds with maturity period of at least 30 days. The U.S. also imposed further penalties against Russia’s biggest lender OAO Sberbank. Russia is currently engaged in a standoff with U.S. and its allies over its interference in Ukraine conflict.

The ruble tumbled by up to 1.2 percent to steady at 37.9713 per dollar, before later plunging 0.7 percent to 37.7834, bringing its total decline this week to 2 percent. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com