ECB Minutes Suggest Policy Communication Script May Be Revised Soon

Pound to euro exchange rate

The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 1.2 percent weekly, pushing higher against a slumping greenback after minutes from the European Central Bank's December meeting boosted investor expectations it is planning to end its massive stimulus programme.

Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,322.74 an ounce by 1:37 p.m. EST (1837 GMT) after touching $1,326.56 on Wednesday, the highest since September 15.

In the US, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 261,000 new claims, a three-month high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.9 percent as JPMorgan rose 1.7 percent. Treasury yields dipped, easing fears of a bear market for bonds, while the S&P 500 index clocked its seventh gain in eight days to close at a record high.

"There's a palpable feeling that the euro and the yen will be among the best-performing currencies this year", said Bipan Rai, a foreign-exchange and macro strategist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 4/32 in price to yield 2.5367 percent, from 2.549 percent late on Wednesday.

"Looking ahead, the view was widely shared among members that the Governing Council's communication would need to evolve gradually, without a change in sequencing, if the economy continued to expand and inflation converged further towards the Governing Council's aim", the central bank said in the summary, which it calls "account", of the December 13-14 policy session. Talk of an end to QE has raised speculation that the European Central Bank could follow up with a rate hike late in 2018. The euro bought $1.2119, trading around its highest level since January three years ago.

On the other hand, the dollar was broadly weak after United States wholesale price dipped in December from November, reinforcing investors' expectations of a tame inflation.

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The Canadian dollar steadied against the greenback after hitting a almost two-week low as investors weighed chances of a Bank of Canada interest rate hike next week and anxious about the possibility of a US withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"The market is very cautious about the Bank of Japan's policy changes, but it is not expected that they will change their policies any time soon, since CPI is still lower than 1 percent", said Harumi Taguchi, principal economist at IHS Markit in Tokyo.

The yield on 2-year Treasuries added two basis points to 1.9976 percent.

Oil prices retreated from big gains the previous day but still traded near three-year highs on signs of tightening supply in the US.

In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was up by 0.2% to $69.26 per barrel as of 11:10 am Shanghai time.

Kashkari's motivation was to allow USA inflation rates and wage growth to push higher, but the sentiment concerned traders who are looking forward to three or possibly four interest rate hikes in 2018.

Fiat Chrysler shares (FCA.MI) in Milan rose 2.8% after the company said late Thursday it plans to invest $1 billion to shift production (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fiat-chrysler-to-move-some-production-to-michigan-2018-01-11) of its profitable Ram Heavy Duty trucks to Michigan from Mexico.

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