October 20, 2017 / 2:03 AM / in a month

Dollar rises vs safe havens after U.S. Senate clears way for tax reform

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar made its biggest daily gain in a month on Friday and posted a weekly increase for the fifth time in six weeks as progress on U.S. tax reforms raised prospects of a fiscal lift to the economy, bolstering investor appetite for risk.

FILE PHOTO: Sheets of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on the five-dollar bill currency are inspected through a magnifying glass at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

The dollar hit a three-month high against the Japanese yen JPY=, to 113.56 yen, and a five-month high against the Swiss franc CHF=, touching 0.9858 franc. Traders seek the yen and Swiss franc in times of uncertainty and fear, and sell the currencies when they favor riskier assets.

“This is clearly a picture of somewhat of a risk-on rotation today, and it’s ignited some of the animal spirits as we take another step closer to the potential for tax reform coming to fruition,” said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank in Helena, Montana.

“Because from the standpoint of what has the potential to impact economic trajectory and capital markets trajectory, it really is tax reform.”

Senate approval of a budget blueprint on Thursday for the 2018 fiscal year cleared a critical hurdle for Republicans to pursue a tax-cut package without Democratic support.

Investors also have viewed as bullish for the dollar remarks this week from Chair Janet Yellen and other officials of the Federal Reserve that suggest the central bank is moving forward with another rate hike this year.

The dollar briefly fell on news that Trump was considering nominating John Taylor and Jerome Powell to the top two posts at the Fed, one as chair and one as vice-chair, and on news Yellen had lunched at the White House with Trump adviser Gary Cohn. It quickly retraced those losses.

The dollar’s strength dragged the euro EUR= down 0.6 percent to $1.1763 ahead of a European Central Bank meeting next week in which policymakers are seen cutting bond purchases but voting for an extension in stimulus.

Enhanced risk appetite also helped boost the euro to its highest against the Swiss franc EURCHF= since January 2015, when the Swiss National Bank scrapped its peg with the euro.

Ahead of national elections in Japan on Sunday, surveys suggest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is on track roughly to match the two-thirds “super majority” it held in parliament’s lower house before the snap vote was called.

The New Zealand dollar NZD= sank to a five-month low on concerns the new Labour coalition will take a harder stance on immigration and foreign investment than the outgoing center-right government.

Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Dan Grebler and Chizu Nomiyama

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