February 12, 2016 / 2:28 PM / 2 years ago

FOREX-Dollar jumps as solid data suggests Fed rate hike still in play

(New throughout; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)

* U.S. January retail sales number suggests U.S. economic strength Dollar touches session highs vs yen, euro, Swiss franc

By Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The dollar rose against a basket of major currencies on Friday after data showed U.S. consumer spending appeared to have regained its mojo in January, backing the possibility of the Federal Reserve continuing to raise interest rates this year.

Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.6 percent last month and month-over-month sales rose 0.2 percent, both outpacing expectations.

The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against six major world rivals, jumped on the news and the index rose to a session high of 96.133. The dollar index was last up 0.45 percent to 95.991.

The dollar also moved to session highs against the euro, yen and Swiss franc after the release of the retail sales data.

"The (retail sales) print is suggestive of the idea that Janet Yellen is right and most of the (Federal Open Market Committee) is right in not being overly concerned about a growth slowdown in the U.S.," said Thierry Albert Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Limited in New York.

"I guess the doves in the marketplace have been hoping for worse data to confirm their suspicion that the Fed is not going to hike this year, and any data like the retail sales data, which seems to suggest otherwise, would be good for the dollar."

The euro fell 0.6 percent against the dollar to $1.1253.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent against the Swiss franc to 0.9765.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 112.75. It hit a session high of 113.16 following the retail sales data release from the U.S. Commerce Department. (Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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