Dollar nurses losses vs euro after Fed minutes quash hawks’ hopes384 views
WASHINGTON: The dollar wallowed close to eight-week lows against the euro in Asian trade on Friday, poised for weekly losses, after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July meeting revealed central bank policymakers were in no hurry to hike rates.
Fed officials agree that more economic data is needed before raising interest rates, although they were generally upbeat about the U.S. economic outlook and labor market.
New York Fed President William Dudley said strong employment and a long-awaited return of middle-wage jobs suggest the labor market is tightening and the broader U.S. economy is on track, and earlier this week, he said it was “possible” for the central bank to hike rates at the Sept. 20-21 meeting.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week.
Despite improving labor conditions, economists see the December meeting as the most likely time for a rate increase, after the U.S. presidential election in November, according to a Reuters poll last week.
The euro EUR= edged down 0.1 percent to $1.1348 EUR=, within sight of its overnight high of $1.1366, its loftiest peak since June 24. It was on track to gain 1.7 percent for the week.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 1.5 percent for the week, though it edged up 0.1 percent on the day to 94.245 .DXY. It fell as low as 94.077 on Thursday, its deepest nadir since June 23.
The dollar clawed back some losses against its Japanese counterpart, rising 0.4 percent to 100.22 yen JPY=, though it was still down 1.1 percent for the week.
“Yen strength has been dramatic and almost perplexing, given the different paths of monetary policy. We would expect to see the dollar/yen strengthen,” said Bill Northey, chief investment officer of the private client group at U.S. Bank in Helena, Montana.
With an eventual U.S. interest rate hike on the horizon, he expects the U.S. currency to appreciate to 110 yen by the end of the year.
Japan’s top currency diplomat, Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Masatsugu Asakawa, repeated on Thursday that Japanese financial authorities were watching for speculative currency market moves and would respond if needed.
Asakawa said it was easy for markets to become volatile given low liquidity during the summer holidays.
“On net, we think that JPY-selling intervention is likely, if USD/JPY declines to 95-96 (before the Bank of Japan’s next monetary policy meeting on September 20-21),” Tohru Sasaki, head of Japan market research at JPMorgan Chase Bank’s Tokyo Branch said in a note.
“Ahead of the U.S. Presidential election, however, given the hardship for Japan to conduct a large and sustainable USD-buying/JPY-selling intervention, intervention, if any, would be relatively small and one-off just aimed at smoothing,” Sasaki said. – Reuters