Dollar on the defensive as Fed’s dovish message hits home

Big 5

Investors gave the dollar a wide berth early on Thursday as dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen continued to resonate, dampening demand for the currency.

The dollar index last stood at 94.931 .DXY, having come within a whisker of a five-month trough of 94.578 set two weeks ago.

Citi analysts said the dovish message in Yellen’s speech on Tuesday along with month-end adjustment led to continued light dollar selling.

The euro was back within striking distance of its 2016 peak of $1.1377 EUR=. It last stood at $1.1321, looking set to post quarterly gains of around 4 percent.

Some traders questioned, however, whether the common currency can extend its rally beyond that peak given the European Central Bank is expected to maintain its easy monetary policy, including negative interest rates.

“It looks more like the euro is forming a triple top here. I doubt it can rise above $1.14. We would need a stronger reason to push the euro above those levels,” said a trader at a European bank in Tokyo.

Against the yen, the greenback bought 112.43 JPY= after coming close to breaking below 112.00. On the quarter, it is down 6.6 percent, which, if sustained, would be its largest fall since 2009.

“The USD sell-off is broadening, and risks are that it continues to disappoint bulls in the near term,” analysts at ANZ wrote in a note to clients.

“But as we look ahead, we wonder about the sustainability of this trend. So we find ourselves in a position where the stronger USD cycle does not look complete, yet the near-term triggers of a resumption of this cycle are scarce.”

ANZ predicts the euro will ease back to $1.0800 by year-end, but it saw the dollar weaker on the yen at 105.00.

Yellen on Tuesday said the Fed will proceed cautiously in raising interest rates and highlighted external risks such as slower global growth.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans on Wednesday underscored that caution saying a “very shallow” series of interest rate hikes over the next few years is appropriate to buffer the U.S. economy from outside shocks and the risk of inflation slipping too low.

A dovish Fed and ultra-loose policies in Japan and Europe combined to give higher-yielding currencies a big boost.

Both the Aussie and kiwi scaled nine-month peaks of $0.7709 AUD=D4 and $0.6965 NZD=D4 respectively. The Canadian dollar climbed to C$1.2913 per USD, a high not seen since October.

In the short term, traders expect the market to consolidate as U.S. nonfarm payrolls and a survey on China’s manufacturing activity on Friday loomed large.

Source: Reuters