The dollar climbed to multi-week highs against other major currencies on Thursday, bolstered by the prospects for faster and larger interest rate hikes in the months ahead.

As London trade got under way, the dollar index held at its highest levels since mid-December, while the euro languished at two-month lows of $1.11930. The greenback also hit its highest levels in more than a year against the New Zealand dollar and a seven-week peak against Australia’s currency.

It rose broadly against emerging market currencies as money markets moved swiftly to all but price in as many as five Federal Reserve rate rises this year.

The Fed concluded a two-day meeting on Wednesday and Fed chief Jerome Powell said the central bank was in a mind to begin hiking in March to tame inflation.

He stressed that no decisions had been taken, but answering a question about whether the central bank would consider a 50-basis point hike, he replied without ruling it out.

He said instead that the economy seemed stronger than in the most recent hiking cycle and inflation, much hotter with room to raise rates without “threatening” the labour market.

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