The dollar held at its highest in nearly two months against a basket of major currencies early on Friday, on track for a third week of gains as investors awaken to the risk of a hike in U.S. interest rates as early as next month.
New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley on Thursday said the U.S. economy could be strong enough to warrant a rate increase in June or July.
His comments reinforced surprisingly clear signals of a possibly imminent rate hike in minutes of the Federal Reserve's April policy meeting and underpinned an already firm greenback.
The dollar index .DXY last stood at 95.293, having been as high as 95.502 - a level last seen on March 29. It was up 0.7 percent this week and has risen 2.4 percent in the past three weeks.
"The market is currently ascribing around a 60 percent chance that the U.S. Fed will hike rates by the July meeting, and NAB has penciled a July rate hike," said Tapas Strickland, economist at National Australia Bank.
"Fed officials are seemingly content with such a pricing," he said, adding an earlier June move could be complicated by the Brexit referendum which occurs a week after the June 14-15 Fed review.
The euro also eased against the yen to 123.19 EURJPY=R, though it remained tightly range-bound since bouncing off a three-year trough of 121.48 early this month.
A standout performer was sterling, which rose broadly after a robust UK retail sales report diminished chances of an interest rate cut that some investors were factoring in.
Traders will be hard-pressed to find any market-moving data out of Asia on Friday, a condition that could see the major currencies consolidate through the Asian session.
(Reporting by Ian Chua; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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