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(Bloomberg) -- The euro strengthened after a Swiss National Bank official said it remained ready to intervene in markets, sparking broader gains for the shared currency.
The euro climbed against 13 of its 16 major peers even as it reversed its advance versus the franc. The yen rose against the dollar after Japan’s economy minister said neither the government nor the central bank has committed to a strict schedule for achieving 2 percent inflation. A gauge of the U.S. dollar was close to its highest level on record amid speculation Federal Reserve policy makers meeting this week will stick to their stance that suggests an interest-rate increase this year.
“The move on euro-Swiss is grabbing attention,” said Ian Stannard, head of European foreign-exchange strategy at Morgan Stanley in London. “It’s generating a bigger euro move. It’s unclear, but obviously there’s going to be a lot of discussion around what the SNB is going to do next. I don’t think there’s enough here to suggest any clear influence.”
The euro rose 0.4 percent to $1.1279 at 6:17 a.m. New York time after falling to $1.1098 on Jan. 26, the least since September 2003. The shared currency was little changed at 133.20 yen. The euro weakened 0.1 percent to 1.01652 francs after appreciating as much as 2.3 percent to 1.03826 francs, the strongest level since the SNB lifted its currency cap on Jan. 15.
The franc had traded near parity against the euro since the SNB sent ripples through markets on Jan. 15 by abandoning its cap of 1.20 francs per euro and increasing a charge on deposits. That pushed the Swiss currency as much as 41 percent higher against the euro to the strongest level on record.
“We’re fundamentally prepared” to intervene again, SNB Vice President Jean-Pierre Danthine said in an interview with Tages-Anzeiger newspaper published on Tuesday. The Tribune de Geneve and 24 Heures newspapers published similar comments. Danthine told the latter that the current euro-franc exchange rate wasn’t justified.
“Everyone is watching for the SNB, but we are still skeptical,” said Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at Swissquote Bank in Gland, Switzerland. “The euro is finding buyers across the board, so this could be more of a short squeeze. Some are citing comments by Danthine but I doubt that would push euro-Swiss higher. It’s more like franc traders seeing shadows.”
The euro has tumbled 4.6 percent this year, the worst performance after the Canadian dollar among 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes after the European Central Bank last week announced a quantitative easing, or bond buying, plan. The yen has advanced 4.9 percent in 2015 and the U.S. dollar gained 3.2 percent.
The Fed is forecast to leave interest rates unchanged at a two-day policy meeting that begins today, a Bloomberg News survey of economists shows. The chance of a interest-rate increase by the October meeting was 52 percent, futures data showed.
“The U.S. dollar remains supported, and that will continue for the foreseeable future,” said Robert Rennie, head of currency and commodity strategy in Sydney at Westpac Banking Corp. “That’s being driven by other central banks needing to be much more aggressive.”
The Bloomberg Dollar Index, a gauge of the currency’s performance against is major peers, was little changed at 1,159.98. It closed at a record 1,161.42 in New York on Jan. 26.
The yen strengthened as Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters in Tokyo that neither the government nor the Bank of Japan has set a specific time for achieving the inflation target, and the central bank’s expression of “about two years” may include the possibility of taking longer than two years.
“The government seems to have relaxed its attitude toward the inflation target,” said Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole SA in Tokyo. “Speculation about additional Bank of Japan easing is getting pushed back, prompting some yen-buying.”
Japan’s currency strengthened 0.3 percent to 118.08 per dollar.
The ruble rebounded from a plunge Monday when Standard & Poor’s lowered Russia’s credit rating one step to BB+, putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade.
The currency strengthened 1.4 percent to 67.83 versus the dollar, after declining 6.6 percent on Monday, the most since Jan. 5.
--With assistance from Kazumi Miura, Chikako Mogi and Kevin Buckland in Tokyo.
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