* U.S. consumer confidence hits 15-yr high, supports dollar
* Markets show less movement in holiday-thin trading
* Australian and New Zealand dollars near multi-month lows
By Yuzuha Oka
TOKYO, Dec 28 The dollar inched up against the
yen on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. economic data reinforced
expectations for economic growth under Donald Trump's
Administration and more rate hikes by U.S. Federal Reserve next
The dollar rose 0.2 percent against the yen to
117.67, adding to its gains of nearly 0.5 percent on Tuesday in
the wake of data showing U.S. consumer confidence hit a 15-year
peak in December.
The dollar rose as high as 118.66 yen on Dec. 15, its
highest since February.
The Conference Board said its U.S. Consumer Confidence Index
rose to 113.7, the highest since August 2001, as expectations
for strength in job growth, business conditions and the stock
market continued to build following Donald Trump's election to
U.S. house prices also continued their steady recovery in
October, although a spike in borrowing costs could present a
headwind to sustained home value gains, as rates rose after the
The upbeat data helped underscore expectations that the U.S.
central bank would raise interest rates more frequently next
year, a view that gained traction after the Fed on Dec. 14
projected three rate hikes next year compared with the two it
predicted in September.
"The next data to watch is U.S. payrolls due on Jan. 6,"
said Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank
in Tokyo. "Markets are prepared for data showing strong U.S.
economy but not for the opposite."
Sera added that volatility could be high for the yen as
Tokyo trading thins ahead of the Japanese New Year holiday,
which lasts from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major peers, last stood at 102.97, down
0.1 percent and below its 14-year peak of 103.650 touched on
The greenback was supported as U.S. Treasury yields rose on
Tuesday to one-week highs in response to the strong domestic
The dollar index has risen 5.3 percent since the U.S.
election, propelled by expectations that Trump would drive
deregulation and fiscal stimulus.
"Markets (will now) wait and see how the Trump
administration will deliver its fiscal expansion, monetary
easing and protectionist policy," said Minori Uchida, chief FX
analyst at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ.
"Deregulation to compensate for smaller fiscal stimulus
would not be favoured by the general public, but it will be
later in the year should disappointment creep in," he added.
The euro was last up 0.1 percent against the
greenback at $1.0470. The common currency marked a 14-year low
of $1.0352 on Dec. 20, and concerns about Italian banks and
upcoming elections in France and Germany look set to keep
investors on edge into the start of 2017.
The Italian government is likely to pump around 6.5 billion
euros ($6.8 billion) to rescue the country's third biggest
lender Monte dei Paschi.
The troubled Italian bank requested government support last
week after it failed to raise 5 billion euros from private
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were near multi-month
lows on expectations of more tightening by the Fed following the
strong U.S. economic data.
The Australian dollar edged up 0.2 percent to
$0.7201, just above a seven-month trough of $0.7160 touched last
The New Zealand kiwi inched up 0.3 percent to
$0.6912, having plumbed $0.6863 on Dec. 23, its lowest since
(Reporting by Yuzuha Oka; Editing by Eric Meijer)