© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar and Chinese Yuan banknotes are seen in this illustration picture taken June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo
By Samuel Indyk and Ankur Banerjee
LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar held close to a six-month peak as jitters over China and global growth weighed on risk appetite, while the yen strengthened as Japan’s top currency diplomat sent a warning about the currency after it earlier dropped to a 10-month low.
The yen strengthened by as much as 0.4% to 147.02 per U.S. dollar after Japan’s top currency diplomat, Masato Kanda, said they won’t rule out options if speculative moves persist, the strongest warning since mid-August.
By 1040 GMT, it stood at 147.34 per dollar, compared with 147.82 earlier in the session, which was its lowest since Nov. 4.
The Asian currency has hovered around the key 145-per-dollar level for the past few weeks, leading traders to keep a wary eye on signs of intervention by Tokyo.
Kanda, Japan’s vice-minister of finance for international affairs, has been the central figure in the country’s efforts to stem the sharp decline of the yen since last year.
“The remarks suggest that intervention could be imminent with the yen in the intervention zone we saw last year,” said Chris Turner, ING global head of markets and regional head of research for UK and CEE.
Japan intervened in currency markets 12 months ago when the dollar rose past 145 yen, prompting the Ministry of Finance to buy the yen and push the pair back to around 140 yen.
“I think we’ll probably see intervention but that doesn’t necessarily mean the underlying trend will turn around any time soon,” Turner added, citing the ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was at 104.69, not far off the six-month high of 104.90 touched on Tuesday. Economic data from China and Europe on Tuesday fanned some fears of slowing global growth, pushing investors to scramble for the greenback.
“Dollar strength remains the dominant play,” said Christopher Wong, currency strategist at OCBC in Singapore. Higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates and the relative U.S. growth resilience are supporting the greenback, Wong said.
Data from the euro zone and Britain on Tuesday showed a decline in business activity last month, while a private-sector survey showed China’s services activity expanded at the slowest pace in eight months in August.
“There’s been a hangover from soft PMIs particularly in the manufacturing space,” ING’s Turner said.
“The energy story, as we saw last summer, can also really hurt the euro, although it’s not as bad now as it was back then.”
Oil prices settled at a ten-month high on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia and Russia extended supply cuts, although European prices are well below the peaks reached in August last year.
The euro was last up 0.2% at $1.0739 as three influential rate-setters at the European Central Bank warned investors to not rule out a rate hike in September.
Speaking on the last day before the ECB’s self-imposed quiet period before their meeting next week, the heads of the German, French and Dutch central banks’ said the decision was still open.
Traders are pricing in around a one-in-three chance that the central bank raises rates by 25 basis points at the September meeting and a two-in-three chance they keep rates unchanged.
Meanwhile, sterling was last at $1.2549, having touched a three-month low of $1.25285 on Tuesday.
fell to a 10-month low against the dollar on Wednesday before paring some losses as state banks stepped in to offer support.
The Australian dollar rose 0.3% to $0.6398, after diving 1.3% on Tuesday following the weak data from China and as the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates on hold.
Yen weakens as Bank of Japan keeps interest rates negative, dollar strengthens
The Japanese yen fell sharply on Friday after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided to keep interest rates in negative territory at -0.1 percent. This decision came just days after the Federal Reserve signaled that U.S. borrowing costs would remain high, exerting pressure on the Japanese currency and raising the possibility of government intervention. The yen dropped to as low as 148.42 against the dollar, nearing the 150 mark, a level at which analysts have suggested government intervention to support the currency could be likely.
BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda stated at a press conference that the central bank has yet to foresee inflation stably and sustainably achieving their price target. As such, they will continue to maintain an ultra-loose monetary policy until they are confident inflation will remain at their 2 percent target. However, Ueda also noted that policy shifts could occur if they foresee the achievement of their target.
Speculation regarding potential Tokyo intervention to support the yen has been growing. Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki warned against a yen sell-off that could harm the trade-reliant economy and did not rule out any options for intervention on Friday. Alvin Tan, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets, suggested that we are moving towards intervention levels due to increasingly explicit verbal intervention warnings from the Ministry of Finance.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the was on track for its 10th consecutive weekly increase following the Fed’s decision and weakening economic data from France that led to a drop in the euro. The dollar index rose 0.16 percent to 105.55 on Friday and was set for a weekly increase of around 0.2 percent.
The Federal Reserve maintained interest rates at 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent on Wednesday and emphasized that it would hold them at this level as long as necessary to push inflation back to 2 percent. This stance has pushed yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries to their highest level since 2007 at over 4.47 percent, making dollar-denominated U.S. bonds more attractive and bolstering the greenback.
Ray Sharma-Ong, investment director of multi-asset solutions at abrdn, stated that the U.S. dollar will perform well due to the Fed’s hawkish stance, the reduction in the expected number of rate cuts in 2024, resilient U.S. growth, and expectations of slower growth in the euro area relative to the U.S.
In other currency news, the sterling slipped to a roughly six-month low of $1.22305 on Thursday when the Bank of England halted its long run of interest rate increases after Britain’s fast pace of price growth unexpectedly slowed. The Australian dollar saw an increase of 0.25 percent at $0.6433 on Friday.
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Asia FX muted, yen drops after BOJ keeps dovish course
Investing.com– Most Asian currencies moved little on Friday as markets continued to fret over higher U.S. interest rates, while the yen came close to 10-month lows after the Bank of Japan maintained its ultra-dovish policy.
The dollar remained relatively well-bid in Asian trade, recovering a measure of overnight losses. The and rose about 0.1% each, and remained within sight of a six-month high hit earlier this week.
Yen weakens as BOJ reiterates dovish stance
The fell 0.4% to 148.16 against the dollar, and was trading just shy of its weakest levels since November 2022.
The Bank of Japan maintained , and said it will and yield curve control policies to foster economic growth.
The bank cited increased uncertainty over the Japanese economy, especially due to weakness in its biggest trading partners, as the main reason for maintaining its stimulative policies. The BOJ also said it will continue to target more wage growth and aim to help inflation reach its 2% annual target.
The decision came just a few hours after data showed Japanese grew slightly more than expected in August. A core reading, which excludes fresh food and fuel prices, remained pinned at an over 40-year high.
The BOJ statement disappointed some investors hoping for more cues on a potential pivot away from negative rates, given that Governor Kazuo Ueda had recently said that the bank had enough data to consider such a move.
Focus is now on an address from Ueda at 3:30 PM JST (02:30 ET) for any more cues on a pivot.
Broader Asia FX muted as Fed fears persist
Most other Asian currencies crept higher on Friday, but were still nursing steep losses for the week after the Federal Reserve warned that .
The and the had also offered similar warnings.
rose 0.1% amid continued focus on stimulus measures in the country, while the added 0.1% as preliminary business activity data for September showed some resilience.
The rose 0.3% after being included in JPMorgan’s emerging market bond index, which is expected to attract more foreign inflows to the country. But sentiment towards India remained skittish amid a growing diplomatic row with Canada, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of killing a Sikh secessionist leader on Canadian soil.
added 0.4%, while the and moved little after their central banks held interest rates as expected.
Still, the outlook for most Asian currencies remained bleak in the face of . The Fed flagged one more potential rate hike this year, and flagged fewer than expected rate cuts in 2024.
Dollar eases after Fed-spurred rise; yen stronger ahead of BOJ
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Japanese yen and U.S. dollar banknotes are seen with a currency exchange rate graph in this illustration picture taken June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
NEW YORK (Reuters) -The U.S. dollar eased against a basket of currencies on Thursday, but remained near a six-month high, a day after the Federal Reserve signaled U.S. monetary policy will remain restrictive for longer.
The Japanese yen strengthened against the greenback before Friday’s Bank of Japan policy announcement, while the pound and the Swiss franc slipped after the British and Swiss central banks kept rates unchanged.
The Fed held interest rates steady at the 5.25%-5.50% range, in line with market expectations on Wednesday, but it signaled that its officials increasingly believe hawkish policy can succeed in lowering inflation without wrecking the economy or leading to large job losses.
Along with another possible rate hike this year, the Fed’s updated projections show significantly tighter rates through 2024 than previously expected.
“Dollar bulls absolutely got what they wanted yesterday,” Helen Given, an FX trader at Monex USA.
“Though Powell didn’t go as far as to say he expects a soft landing, it’s pretty clear between the dot plot and the Fed’s updated growth forecasts the central bank has convinced markets that is where the U.S. economy may be headed,” Given said.
“Of course, this contrasts fairly directly with guidance from the ECB and BoE, facing much more dire economic situations,” she said.
The , which measures the currency against a basket of rivals, was 0.10% lower at 105.33, after rising as high as 105.74, its strongest since March.
The yen was up 0.58% at 147.46 per dollar. With the yen still near a 10-month low against the greenback attention remains fixed on the possibility of the Japanese government intervening in foreign exchange markets to prop up the currency.
Japan will not rule out any options in addressing excess volatility in currency markets, the government’s top spokesperson said on Thursday, issuing a fresh warning against the yen’s decline towards the psychologically important 150-mark per dollar.
“Traders are repositioning before both the meeting tomorrow and CPI releases,” Monex’s Given said.
The BOJ will end its negative interest rate policy next year, the majority of economists said in a Reuters poll, as the market has begun to envisage the demise of its ultra-easy monetary settings.
“While we are unlikely to get a rate hike tonight we may just hear some comments that imply one is to come,” Brad Bechtel, global head of FX at Jefferies, said in a note.
The pound fell to its lowest since March after the Bank of England held interest rates steady on Thursday, following a cooler-than-expected inflation report the previous day.
Thursday marked the first time since December 2021 that the BoE did not raise rates at its monetary policy meeting, a halt to a run of 14 consecutive rate hikes.
The pound was 0.41% lower at $1.22935.
Earlier, the Swiss franc dropped after the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly held rates steady, marking the first time the central bank has not hiked since March 2022, although it kept options open for further rate rises.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Riksbank and Norway’s central bank both raised rates by 25 basis points, in line with expectations.
The euro was up 0.18% against the Swedish crown and about flat against the Norwegian crown following the respective decisions.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was down about 2.0% on the day at $26,593.
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