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Economy

Dollar stumbles as markets rethink interest rate path

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar banknotes are displayed in this illustration taken, February 14, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By Sujata Rao and Kevin Buckland

LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar slipped on Friday and headed for its first weekly decline of June as traders dialled down bets on where interest rates might peak and brought forward the timing of rate cuts to counter a possible recession.

A significant shift this week has been the fall in oil and commodity prices, which has eased inflation fears and allowed equity markets to rebound. This has eroded the safe-haven bid that’s been boosting the greenback against major currencies.

By 0920 GMT, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was modestly lower at 104.20. It rose 0.2% on Thursday, mostly due to a decline in the euro after weak business activity data reduced bets for European Central Bank tightening.

The dollar, up 9% this year, has lost some of its shine since investors started betting the Fed could slow the rate-tightening pace following another 75 basis-point increase in July, and may start easing policy after March 2023.

Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said she supports 50 bps hikes for “the next few” meetings after July’s.

However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, in his second day of Congressional testimony on Thursday, stressed “unconditional” commitment to taming inflation, even amid risks to growth.

The rate hike repricing sent 10-year Treasury yields to two-week lows while the dollar index has lost 0.4% this week.

Analysts noted however that terminal rate repricing was happening across the developed world as recession fears grow.

“The repricing in the market.. has held the dollar back but an offsetting force is the risk of a global downturn. The Fed is pretty much on autopilot, until they take their foot off the brakes, dollar weakness will be limited,” BMO Capital Markets strategist Stephen Gallo said.

“Rate hikes are being taken out of the euro and sterling markets too.”

The yen , sensitive to changes in U.S. yields, was up 0.1% around 134.9 and was set to snap a three-week losing streak during which it tumbled to successive 24-year lows beyond 136.

“If U.S. Treasury yields have peaked so has dollar/yen. If you combine better Japanese GDP growth and a peak in U.S. yields it’s a benign environment for yen strength,” said Mizuho senior economist Colin Asher, who expects yen around 130 by year-end.

The euro ticked up 0.2%, after Thursday’s 0.44% tumble which was triggered by weaker-than-expected PMI figures for June and Germany’s move to trigger the “alarm stage” of its emergency gas plan

For the week though, the euro is up 0.5% against the dollar.

The greenback’s slide boosted even commodity-focused currencies such as Australian dollar and Norwegian crown. The Aussie ticked up 0.14% to $0.6904, though it remained on track for a third straight weekly decline.

The Norwegian crown, fresh off Thursday’s 50 bps rate hike, inched up 0.4%.

Economy

Futures rise as easing China COVID curbs lift travel, leisure stocks

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© Reuters. A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 22, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – Travel and leisure shares propped up U.S. stock index futures after China relaxed some COVID-19 quarantine requirements for international travelers, raising hopes of a revival in global growth.

Airlines, cruises, casinos and hotels were among the gainers in premarket trading after China’s slashing of the quarantine time for inbound travelers by half boosted hopes of a big jump in international travel and spending.

Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Inc rose 2.5% to top the list of gainers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after the company’s Shanghai Disney Resort said it would reopen the Disneyland theme park on June 30 after being shut for more than three months.

Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) Group Inc were the biggest gainers in the sector, rising 4% and 2% respectively.

Melco Resorts jumped 10% and led the rise in the casino sector, closely followed by Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) International.

Wall Street’s main indexes started the week on soft footing after worries of surging inflation and an aggressive Federal Reserve dominated sentiment amid few market moving catalysts till the start of earnings season in two weeks.

Investors are now looking at data to determine whether the economy can withstand large interest rate hikes by the U.S. central bank to stamp out inflation.

A survey from the Conference Board is expected to show its consumer confidence index slipped to a reading of 100.4 in June, from 106.4 in May, at 10 a.m. ET.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are set to post losses in June and are on course to log two straight quarterly declines for the first time since 2015.

At 6:49 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 175 points, or 0.56%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.51%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 52.25 points, or 0.43%.

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) shed 2.8% as it forecast first-quarter revenue below estimates on expectations of more discounts and pandemic-related disruptions in China, its most profitable market.

Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:OXY) climbed 3.1% after top investor Warren Buffett raised stake in the shale producer.

China ADRs also rose on Beijing easing its COVID curbs, with e-commerce firms Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).com, JD (NASDAQ:JD).com and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD) up between 1.2% and 1.4%

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Euro below $1.06 as Lagarde keeps July policy options open

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© Reuters. A shopper pays with a ten Euro bank note at a local market in Nice, France, June 7, 2022. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON (Reuters) – The Aussie and the Canadian dollar climbed on Tuesday on firmer oil prices while the euro held below $1.06 as European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde offered no fresh insight on the central bank’s policy outlook.

The ECB is widely expected to follow its global peers by raising interest rates in July to check soaring inflation though economists are divided on the magnitude of the rate hike to protect a struggling economic recovery due to high oil prices.

Oil prices are up 10% in barely a week on supply constraint concerns with Brent crude holding above $117, pushing the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar up 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. [O/R]

“Oil is helping the Norwegian crown and the Canadian dollar to outperform and the euro is again running into resistance at the 1.06 level,” said Kenneth Broux, an FX strategist at Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) in London.

The euro held below $1.06 after the ECB’s Lagarde said the central bank would move gradually but with the option to act decisively on any deterioration in medium-term inflation, especially if there were signs of a de-anchoring of inflation expectations.

Money markets are pricing in about 238 basis points (bps) of cumulative rate hikes by mid-2023 compared to around 280 bps two weeks ago.

Broader currency market moves were contained in a big week for markets in economic data terms. German inflation figures are due on Wednesday, French data on Thursday and euro zone numbers on Friday.

At the other end of the dial, higher oil prices caused the partially convertible Indian rupee to open at a record low, and fall further to 78.67 per dollar.

The U.S. dollar index struck a two-decade high of 105.79 this month and was last steady at 103.93.

Elsewhere, the offshore Chinese yuan moved higher after China reduced COVID quarantine for international travellers.

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Economy

China’s economy recovering but foundation not solid, premier says

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is seen on a screen as he attends a news conference via video link after the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s economy has recovered to some extent, but its foundation is not solid, state media on Tuesday quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying.

China will strive to drive the economy back onto a normal track and bring down the jobless rate as soon as possible, Li was quoted as saying.

“Currently, the implementation of the policy package to stabilise the economy is accelerating and taking effect. The economy has recovered on the whole, but the foundation is not yet solid,” Li was quoted as saying.

“The task of stabilising employment remains arduous.”

China’s economy showed signs of recovery in May after slumping the previous month as industrial production revived, but consumption remained weak and underlined the challenge for policymakers amid the persistent drag from strict COVID-19 curbs.

China’s nationwide survey-based jobless rate fell to 5.9% in May from 6.1% in April, still above the government’s 2022 target of below 5.5%.

In particular, the surveyed jobless rate in 31 major cities picked up to 6.9%, the highest on record. Some economists expect employment to worsen before it gets better, with a record number of graduates entering the workforce in summer.

Li vowed to achieve reasonable economic growth in the second quarter, although some private-sector economists expect the economy to shrink in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, compared with the first quarter’s 4.8% growth.

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