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Dollar surges to 8-1/2-month high against yen on OPEC deal

REUTERS
LONDON
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Men stand near an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. Asian stocks were mixed as concerns over an OPEC oil production cut and Italy's constitutional referendum cast a pall on the markets. (AP Photo)
Men stand near an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. Asian stocks were mixed as concerns over an OPEC oil production cut and Italy's constitutional referendum cast a pall on the markets. (AP Photo)

The U.S. dollar hit its highest level against the yen in 8-1/2 months on Wednesday and also surged against the euro and Swiss franc after a surge in oil prices pushed U.S. Treasury yields higher, while strong private payrolls data bolstered expectations for a hawkish Federal Reserve next year.

The dollar rose about 1.7 percent against the yen to 114.43 yen, its highest level since early March. The euro fell about 0.8 percent against the dollar to a session low of $1.0554 after U.S. crude prices rallied more than 8.5 percent as some of the world's largest oil producers agreed to curb oil output for the first time since 2008.

The dollar was last on track to gain about 9 percent against the yen in November to mark its strongest monthly performance since August 1995. The dollar also hit a roughly 10-month high against the Swiss franc of 1.0204 francs.

The gains in oil prices boosted views of higher inflation, which in turn sent U.S. Treasury yields higher given the negative impact of inflation on bond prices. The higher Treasury yields fueled demand for the dollar relative to currencies such as the euro and yen, whose government bond yields are still low-to-negative.

"It's the widening of interest rate differentials," said Alvise Marino, FX strategist at Credit Suisse in New York, in reference to the dollar's gains on the back of higher Treasury yields. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yields were last up about 10 basis points on the day, at 2.395 percent.

A continuation of strong U.S. economic data on Wednesday after a stronger-than-expected gross domestic product growth reading on Tuesday also supported the dollar by underpinning expectations that the Fed would raise interest rates next month and continue to hike at a swift pace next year, analysts said.

ADP National Employment Report data on showed U.S. private employers added 216,000 jobs in November, well above economists' expectations. The ADP figures precede the U.S. Labor Department's more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

"It absolutely blasted expectations, and when you see that happen, that should promote some dollar strength," said Stephen Casey, senior foreign exchange trader at Cambridge Global Payments in New York.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.8 percent at 101.690.

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