By Kate Duguid
NEW YORK (Reuters) -The dollar held steady near week highs on Thursday after the U.S. Labor Department reported higher producer prices in April, further evidence that inflation is rising in the United States.
The producer price index rose 0.6% in April after surging 1.0% in March. In the 12 months through April, the PPI shot up 6.2%. That was the biggest year-on-year rise since the series was revamped in 2010 and followed a 4.2% jump in March.
Thursday’s report follows data on Wednesday showing consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 12 years in April. The dollar rose on Wednesday to one-week highs as some investors increased bets that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner than the bank has forecast. But the move in the dollar was relatively muted, suggesting many investors continue to take Fed policymakers at their word.
U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday that weak job growth and strong inflation in April had not changed the central bank’s plan to maintain loose monetary policy.
The dollar index <=USD> was last flat on Thursday at 90.739, down from a week high hit earlier in the day of 90.909.
“So far the FX response has been fairly tepid and for good reasons,” wrote Alan Ruskin, macro strategist at Deutsche Bank.
While Ruskin does believe that the surge in inflation is large enough that a full reversal in coming months does not seem likely, he doesn’t expect that a single month of data will prompt an immediate shift in the Fed’s positioning.
“Where does this leave the USD? Probably mildly firmer, but without a clear Fed shift, struggling at recent dollar index highs near 91.50, and the euro at a 1.1986/1.20 area of support.”
The euro was slightly stronger on the day, last up 0.05% to $1.208. The Japanese yen was modestly stronger against the dollar, last up 0.11% at 109.575.
The Australian dollar, which is seen as a proxy for risk appetite, was up 0.10% at 0.773 versus the U.S. dollar, after having its biggest daily drop since March on Wednesday.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin plunged 13% on Wednesday after Elon Musk said in a tweet that Tesla Inc would no longer accept the cryptocurrency for car purchases.[nL8N2N033U]
Bitcoin however recovered some of those losses overnight and was last up 1.96% at around $49,697 at 1132 GMT.
Bitcoin is still up around 30% from where it was just before Tesla said on Feb. 8 that it had invested around $1.5 billion in bitcoin and would accept it for payment in the near future.
(Reporting by Kate Duguid; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft in London; Editing by Andrea Ricci)