Oct 8, 2020

Currencies | The Dollar: Dollar higher as markets wait on stimulus news


3 minutes

A hand holding U.S. dollar banknotes in China on January 25, 2018.

A hand holding U.S. dollar banknotes in China on January 25, 2018.

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

The U.S. dollar edged higher against a basket of currencies on Thursday, but held in its recent range as investors waited for fresh news on whether new U.S. fiscal stimulus is likely in the near term.

The greenback has been whipsawed by swings in risk sentiment after U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday halted negotiations with Democrats on a new economic package but later pushed for the approval of more targeted stimulus bills to offset economic damage from the coronavirus.

There was little new information on Thursday to move the dollar strongly in either direction.

“We’re just really consolidating, I think the market right now lacks near-term conviction, partly because of uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy, and sensitivity to these U.S. presidential tweets,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex in New York. “There’s no new news to shake things up one way or another.”

The dollar index gained 0.12% against a basket of major currencies to 93.73. It has fallen from a two-month high of 94.75 on Sept. 25.

The greenback was little changed against the Japanese yen at 105.97 yen, while the euro fell 0.17% to $1.1740.

The dollar index has also weakened in the past two weeks on bets that Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden is more likely to win the Nov. 3 U.S. election, and that Democrats could also win the Senate.

A Democratic sweep would make larger fiscal stimulus more likely, which would weaken the U.S. currency.

“Overall, investors seem to be focusing more on the increasing odds of a Biden win and what that might imply for a stimulus package after the election,” said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss.

The New Zealand dollar dropped as much as half a percent after central bank officials again hinted that negative interest rates are possible. It was last down 0.06% at $0.6575.

Sterling traded 0.10% lower at $1.2905 as uncertainty about Britain’s exit from the European Union weighed on the currency.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is prepared to fully leave the EU without a deal when the Brexit transition period ends, his spokesman said on Thursday, but the British leader still believes there is a deal to be done.

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