The dollar surged against its peers Thursday and most Asian markets tumbled after the Federal Reserve indicated it will likely embark on a steeper path of interest rate hikes over the next year.
Investors were sent scurrying on the prospect of tighter borrowing costs as the Federal Reserve positions itself for an expected jump in inflation if Donald Trump makes good on promises to ramp up infrastructure spending and slash taxes.
While the decision to lift rates had been a certainty, a plan to hike them three times rather than the expected twice jolted trading floors.
The news sent the dollar soaring well past 117 yen and its highest level since February, while it also bulldozed other currencies, particularly higher-yielding, riskier, units and those of emerging market nations.
“This is flat out hawkish, and the US dollar is reacting accordingly,” Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA, said in a note. “I thought we would be calling (Fed chief Janet Yellen’s) bluff this morning, as the market had expected at most a subtle shift in Fed language.
“However, the Fed’s forward guidance is in reaction to Trumpflation as Dr Yellen did little to quell the markets’ pent up view that both growth and inflation will accelerate in 2017.”
In Asian trade the greenback pushed towards 118 yen and jumped more than one percent against the Australian and Canadian dollar while their New Zealand counterpart was almost two percent down. The Mexican peso also tumbled.
The dollar was also up 0.7 percent on the South Korean won and 0.6 percent versus Indonesia’s rupiah. The Thai baht, Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollar also suffered heavy losses.
– Key figures around 0700 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 19,273.79 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.9 percent at 22,023.86
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,117.68 (close)
Dollar/yen: UP at 117.70 yen from 117.08 yen Wednesday
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0487 from $1.0533
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2550 from $1.2559
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN eight cents at $50.96 per barrel
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP three cents at $53.93
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 19,792.53 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,949.19 (close)