March 16, 2018 / 5:43 PM / 8 months ago

FOREX-Dollar rises on data, yen gains on U.S. political uncertainty

    * Yen hits highest level since early March
    * Focus turning to Fed meeting next week 
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2018

 (Recasts, adds comment, updates prices in text, table)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - The dollar rose against most
currencies on Friday, bolstered by solid U.S. economic data that
further supported consensus expectations that the Federal
Reserve will raise interest rates at next week's monetary policy
    "The gains in the dollar were a positive reaction to the
data," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth
Foreign Exchange in Washington. "The reports show that the
dollar's fundamental backdrop remains strong."
    U.S. industrial production surged in February, boosted by
strong increases in output at factories and mines, while a
consumer sentiment survey by the University of Michigan showed a
rise in the overall index for March.
    The dollar, however, fell to a more than one-week low
against the yen, undermined by speculation that more top Trump
administration officials could be replaced and concerns U.S.
trade tariffs could hurt the global economy.
    These U.S.-centric factors have rattled markets in recent
days, pushing the dollar lower and leaving the yen as the main
     U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to replace his
national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, the Washington Post
reported on Thursday. At the same time, the New York Times
reported U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued a
subpoena for documents related to Trump's businesses, including
some concerning Russia.
    Earlier this week, the U.S. currency took a hit after Trump
dismissed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as investors grew
increasingly nervous about the direction U.S. policy might now
take following a series of departures by key members of staff.
    "There is a whiff of risk aversion about the markets," said
Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.
    "The reason for the caution in markets centers on the U.S.
amid reports of yet more changes in senior White House
personnel," he added.
    The dollar was down 0.2 percent at 106.15 yen after
falling as low as 105.61 yen, the lowest since March 7.
    The dollar index was up 0.1 percent at 90.236. It has
been on the defensive for much of the week amid the shake-up
inside Trump's administration and as next week's Federal Reserve
policy meeting comes into focus.
    The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.2284, with little in
the way to drive the single currency
    It has struggled to make much headway since rallying in
January and faced further headwinds after the European Central
Bank last week cautioned investors not to expect a paring back
of monetary stimulus any time soon.
    Currency bid prices at 1:27PM (1727 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Euro/Dollar      EUR=        $1.2280        $1.2304     -0.20%         +2.37%      +1.2336     +1.2261
 Dollar/Yen       JPY=        106.1100       106.3300    -0.21%         -5.82%      +106.3800   +105.6100
 Euro/Yen         EURJPY=     130.33         130.83      -0.38%         -3.59%      +130.9100   +130.0800
 Dollar/Swiss     CHF=        0.9533         0.9514      +0.20%         -2.16%      +0.9547     +0.9486
 Sterling/Dollar  GBP=        1.3932         1.3936      -0.03%         +3.11%      +1.3979     +1.3889
 Dollar/Canadian  CAD=        1.3092         1.3052      +0.31%         +4.09%      +1.3097     +1.3045
 Australian/Doll  AUD=        0.7720         0.7798      -1.00%         -1.04%      +0.7804     +0.7719
 Euro/Swiss       EURCHF=     1.1709         1.1705      +0.03%         +0.17%      +1.1713     +1.1689
 Euro/Sterling    EURGBP=     0.8813         0.8827      -0.16%         -0.79%      +0.8838     +0.8812
 NZ               NZD=        0.7209         0.7276      -0.92%         +1.74%      +0.7282     +0.7209
 Dollar/Norway    NOK=        7.7211         7.7140      +0.09%         -5.92%      +7.7388     +7.6975
 Euro/Norway      EURNOK=     9.4832         9.4906      -0.08%         -3.71%      +9.5117     +9.4735
 Dollar/Sweden    SEK=        8.1915         8.1787      -0.05%         -0.12%      +8.2105     +8.1749
 Euro/Sweden      EURSEK=     10.0599        10.0648     -0.05%         +2.24%      +10.0936    +10.0549
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
Editing by Paul Simao and Susan Thomas)
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