The pound jumped from the lowest level against the dollar in 10 months after an opinion poll showed fading support for Scotland’s bid for independence from the U.K.
The dollar reached the strongest against the yen since 2008 and rose versus the euro as traders raised bets the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in mid-2015. Switzerland’s franc slumped to a one-year low against the dollar and dropped versus the euro after the Wall Street Journal reported negative interest rates remain an option for the Swiss National Bank. The ruble dropped as European officials considered sanctions against Russia.
“We’ll continue to see this back-and-forth in the pound based on whatever poll that’s coming out,” Ken Wills, currency strategist at CanadianForex Ltd. in Toronto, said in a phone interview. “An awful lot of events are also going on at the same time. We’re seeing a normalization in volatility.”
Sterling strengthened 0.7 percent to $1.6211 at 5 p.m. in New York. It fell earlier to $1.6052, the weakest since Nov. 15. The currency lost 3 percent this month through yesterday, the most of any of its 16 major peers.
The greenback rose 0.6 percent to 106.86 yen and reached 106.89, the highest since September 2008. It advanced 0.2 percent to $1.2917 per euro after touching $1.2860 yesterday, the strongest since July 2013. The shared currency gained 0.5 percent to 138.03 yen.
Barclays Plc lowered its one-year euro forecast to $1.10, from $1.25. That’s the most bearish of Wall Street banks as the currency union’s economy deteriorates and increasingly aggressive monetary policy signals further depreciation.
Volatility in the currency market increased, with Deutsche Bank AG’s Currency Volatility Index climbing to 7.8 percent, the highest since Feb. 6 on a closing-price basis. The measure was as low as 4.9 percent on July 21.
“The past two days has been a brutal awakening from the summer doldrums,” Brian Daingerfield, a currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s RBS Securities unit in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a phone interview. “The September Fed meeting could be a major market mover, revitalizing expectations for a stronger dollar.”
The Fed, which meets Sept. 16-17, is considering the timing of its first rate increase since 2006. It has held the benchmark interest-rate target in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since 2008 to support the economy.
There’s a 61 percent chance policy makers will raise the target to at least 0.5 percent by July 2015, futures trading shows. The likelihood was 52 percent at the end of August.
Fed officials are also considering whether to alter public interest-rate guidance. The central bank has said since March rates would stay low for a “considerable time” after it completes monthly bond-buying intended to spur economic growth. Purchases are on track to end this year.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index has gained 1.7 percent this month to 1,047.26. The gauge, which monitors the U.S. currency against 10 major peers, reached as high as 1,049.73, the most since July 2013.
There’s been “a significant lift in volatility, and levels have moved up substantially,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of foreign-exchange strategy at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in London. “The dollar continues to look well-bid across the piece and people are scrambling to profit from that.”
The franc depreciated 0.4 percent to 93.67 centimes per dollar and touched 93.96 centimes, the weakest since September 2013. The Swiss currency fell 0.3 percent to 1.2099 per euro and reached 1.2119, the weakest since Aug. 15.
Thomas Moser, an alternate member of the Swiss central bank’s governing board, said at a conference “we always said we would use” negative rates if needed, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The option of a negative rate if necessary is among the Swiss central bank’s standard alternatives, Walter Meier, a spokesman, said later. SNB President Thomas Jordan said on June 19 that “introduction of negative rates is a possible option.”
Sterling climbed versus all of its 31 major peers after a poll by Survation for the Daily Record newspaper in Glasgow put the “no” lead for the Sept. 18 referendum on Scottish independence at six percentage points when excluding undecided voters. It found 47 percent support for the “yes” campaign and 53 percent against independence.
The results followed a survey by YouGov Plc last weekend that put the yes-vote side ahead for the first time, a swing that sent the pound tumbling.
The ruble lost as much as 1.1 percent to 37.4629 per dollar as crude oil traded below $100 a barrel and the European Union weighed deeper sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are battling government forces.