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Dollar drops to two-month low, yen hits 6-1/2 week high

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Dollar drops to two-month low, yen hits 6-1/2 week high
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar and Euro banknotes are seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Samuel Indyk and Rae Wee

LONDON (Reuters) -The dollar slid to a more than two-month low on Monday, extending a downtrend from last week as traders reaffirmed their belief that U.S. rates have peaked and turned their attention to when the Federal Reserve could begin to cut.

The hit a low of 103.46 in European trade, its weakest level since Sept. 1, extending a nearly 2% decline from last week – the sharpest weekly fall since July.

Against the weaker greenback, the euro hit its highest since August at $1.0937, while the yen firmed to a 6-1/2 week high of 148.1 per dollar.

Markets have priced out the risk of further rate increases from the Fed after a slew of weaker-than-expected U.S. economic indicators last week, particularly after an inflation reading that came in below estimates.

Focus now turns to how soon the first rate cuts could come, with futures pricing in almost a 30% chance that the Fed could begin lowering rates as early as March, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

“The weakness in the dollar is to do with the moves in rate markets, especially after the November Fed meeting and last week’s CPI,” said Dane Cekov, senior FX strategist at Nordea, although he added that there could be weakness in the dollar in the very short term.

“From a technical perspective, the dollar now looks oversold against the euro. Usually you’ll see some sort of consolidation.”

Minutes from the Fed’s latest meeting, released on Tuesday this week, could offer some colour on policymakers’ thinking as they held rates steady for a second time this month.

Sterling was little changed at $1.2467, after earlier flirting with a near two-month peak.

The euro last bought $1.0926 ahead of flash PMI readings in the euro zone due this week and after Moody’s (NYSE:) unexpectedly upgraded the outlook on Italy’s ‘Baa3’ sovereign rating to stable from negative and upgraded Portugal’s rating by two notches to ‘A3’.

Nordea’s Cekov said the moves by Moody’s should be a positive for the euro area as they should lead to a lower risk premium for Italian and Portuguese debt.

“In that sense it removes some of the downside risk for the euro. That’s my first impression,” Cekov said.

The Japanese yen remained on the stronger side of 150 per dollar and was last around 0.8% higher at 148.42.

Elsewhere in Asia, the yuan leapt to a more than three-month high against the dollar in both the onshore and offshore markets, as the central bank guided the unit higher and exporters rushed to convert their dollar receipts into local currency.

The and both rose to 7.1633 per dollar, their highest level since Aug. 4.

The was last 0.5% higher at $0.6547, having struck a three-month high of $0.6563 earlier in the session, while the gained 0.5% to $0.6022.

China on Monday left its benchmark lending rates unchanged at a monthly fixing, matching expectations, as a weaker yuan continued to limit further monetary easing and policymakers waited to see the effects of previous stimulus on credit demand.

The yuan, which has fallen nearly 4% against the dollar this year in the onshore market, continues to be pressured by a faltering economic recovery in China and as investor sentiment remains fragile.

“I think the theme of a soft Chinese economic recovery will persist for a while,” said Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:).

“Until we get a more meaningful recovery in the Chinese economy, I think that will be a headwind for the (yuan), Aussie and the kiwi in the near term.”

Forex

Dollar slips ahead of GDP data; euro rises and yen surges

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Investing.com – The U.S. dollar slipped lower Thursday, the euro posted small gains while the Japanese yen climbed to multi-month highs ahead of next week’s Bank of Japan meeting.  

At 05:25 ET (09:25 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, fell 0.2% to 103.950, extending an overnight decline.

Dollar slips ahead of GDP data

The dollar retreated Thursday, extending an overnight decline amid increasing confidence that the will cut interest rates in September.

data for the second quarter are due later in the session, and is expected to show annualized growth of 2.0%.

This would be above the 1.4% growth seen in the first quarter, but would remain considerably slower than the 4.2% pace seen in the second half of last year.

The release will also show inflation slowed considerably last quarter, with the GDP price index falling to 2.6% from 3.1%, ahead of Friday’s price index data, the Federal Reserve’s favored gauge of inflation.

The Fed is set to meet next week, and is widely to keep interest rates steady while signaling a rate cut in September. 

German business morale falls again

In Europe, rose 0.1% to 1.0847, with the euro edging higher despite German business morale unexpectedly falling in July, the third consecutive decline in Germany’s most prominent leading indicator..

The Ifo institute said its sank to 87.0 in July from 88.6 in June.

“The German economy is stuck in the crisis,” said Ifo president Clemens Fuest.

The kept interest rates on hold at 3.75% last week, but markets are pricing in just short of two more ECB rate cuts for the rest of this year.

traded 0.2% lower at 1.2885, falling back from the 1.30 level ahead of next week’s Bank of England policy-setting meeting.

UBS expects the central bank to trim interest rates in what is widely seen as a close call as to when it will start what is likely to be a slow and steady reduction path.

Yen goes from strength to strength 

In Asia, fell 0.7% to 152.72, with the pair falling to its weakest level in 2-1/2 months as traders abandoned short yen bets in the run up to the BOJ’s July meeting in the wake of suspected currency market intervention by the Japanese government.

The is expected to consider a 10 basis point hike, and could unveil a plan to roughly halve bond purchases in coming years.

“USD/JPY has now corrected 6% off its high. This has proved another successful intervention campaign for Japanese authorities,” said analysts at ING, in a note. 

“We think the success of the intervention has had less to do with the size of the FX sales and more to do with the timing. As was the case in September/October 2022, Japanese FX intervention has been timed to coincide with a dovish reappraisal of Fed policy. Very clever.”

slipped 0.5% lower to 7.2281, but remained near an eight-month high amid persistent concerns over a slowing economic recovery in the country. Surprise rate cuts by the People’s Bank added to pressure on the currency and did little to lift spirits over the Chinese economy.

 

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Investors turn long on Singapore dollar after 7 months; bearish bets on Asian FX ease – Reuters poll

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By Roushni Nair

(Reuters) –

Investors turned bullish on the Singapore dollar for the first time since mid-December as the city-state’s growth and inflation dynamics continue to support the local unit, while bearish bets on most Asian currencies eased, a Reuters poll found on Thursday.

Long positions on the Singapore dollar were at their highest since early April 2023, while bearish bets on the Malaysian ringgit fell to levels seen in April last year, according to a fortnightly poll of 10 analysts.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) does not seem to be in a hurry to ease policy settings after a core inflation reading of above 3% in May with growth in the second quarter coming in strong at 2.9%, according to analysts.

MAS will conclude its policy meeting on Friday, with analysts expecting the central bank to maintain its hawkish stance and hold on to its current policy settings even as inflation in June was at a two-year low.

“The strong data (growth and inflation) and the continued appreciation of the SNEER (Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate) make us continue to like the SGD on a relative-value basis and against low-yielders in the region,” analysts at Bank of America said in a note.

However, any spike in oil prices due to geopolitical events would exert upside pressure on Singapore dollar’s safe-haven status, they added.

Singapore is among the few countries in the world with a triple-A sovereign credit rating that is reflective of exceptionally strong fiscal and external balance sheets, factors that firm its position as a safe harbor for investors.

Meanwhile, markets have priced in a 100% chance of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve as early as September, with investors awaiting a slew of macroeconomic data, including second-quarter growth figures, to further validate their bets. [FEDWATCH]

Declining interest rates in the U.S. would take the shine off the dollar as it could lead to lower foreign investments while triggering a risk-on sentiment for emerging Asian currencies.

This has resulted in short bets on the Philippine peso and Thailand’s baht also easing significantly.

Bearish positions on the Chinese yuan and the Taiwanese dollar were at their highest since June 27.

Markets in Taiwan extended losses, pressured by statements from Washington last week that hinted at the possibility of tougher curbs for exports of advanced semiconductor technology to China.

Taiwan markets were closed for a second successive day because of bad weather.

The Asian currency positioning poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3. A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars.

The figures include positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

The survey findings are provided below (positions in U.S. dollar versus each currency):

DATE USD/SG USD/ID USD/IN USD/TH

D R R B

25-Jul-24 1.07 0.79 -0.33 0.35 0.86 0.12 0.39 0.43 0.02

11-Jul-24 1.05 0.87 0.06 0.73 0.68 0.22 1.03 0.86 0.51

27-Jun-24 1.34 1.28 0.80 1.49 0.88 0.46 1.00 1.37 0.91

13-Jun-24 0.95 0.87 0.62 1.22 0.64 0.37 1.00 1.23 0.92

30-May-24 1.05 0.72 0.33 0.94 0.53 0.00 0.81 1.19 1.00

16-May-24 1.05 0.96 0.35 0.96 1.02 0.39 1.23 1.29 1.00

2-May-24 1.25 1.61 0.89 1.39 1.40 0.49 1.46 1.44 1.39

18-Apr-24 1.25 1.59 0.80 1.32 1.24 0.43 1.42 1.19 1.28

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Singapore dollar note is seen in this illustration photo May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File photo

4-Apr-24 1.18 1.09 0.42 1.13 1.17 0.00 1.15 0.62 1.35

21-Mar-24 0.92 0.82 0.33 0.60 0.92 -0.54 1.12 0.47 1.13

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Forex

US dollar pares losses after economic data

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar trimmed losses on Thursday after data showed the the world’s largest economy expanded faster than expected and inflation slowed in the second quarter.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknote is seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The greenback came off lows against the surging yen and was last down 0.4% at 153.16. It was at 152.68 yen before the data. The was slightly down at 104.32 after the data. It was at 104.21 just before.

Advance estimates showed that gross domestic product grew at a 2.8% annualized rate last quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast GDP rising at a 2.0% rate.

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