Dollar poised for weekly dip, pressured by Fed’s inflation caution

Dollar prices wobbled in thin trading on Friday, on track for losses against most rivals in a holiday-shortened week as it remained under pressure on the Federal Reserve’s cautious view on low U.S. inflation

U.S. markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, which was also a national holiday in Japan.

The dollar skidded on Wednesday after minutes from the Fed’s latest policy meeting showed some policymakers fretting over stubbornly weak inflation. That led some to question expectations of hikes in 2018.

The core personal consumption expenditures price index has consistently fallen short of the central bank’s 2 percent target for over five years, even as the Fed has moved toward normalizing policy.

The index that tracks the dollar against a basket of six major rival currencies was down 0.1 percent at 93.153 , and 0.5 percent lower for the week.

The dollar added 0.2 percent against the yen to 111.46 , pulling away from Thursday’s two-month low of 111.07 yen, though it was still down 0.5 percent for the week.

“Hedge funds that close their books this month have been taking profits on their dollar-long positions,” said Mitsuo Imaizumi, Tokyo-based chief foreign-exchange strategist for Daiwa Securities.

“This has kept the dollar under pressure, and combined with thin liquidity from the holiday, it would be hard for it to climb this session,” he said.

The low-yielding yen, which tends to gain as a perceived safe haven in times of market risk aversion, was underpinned by concerns about a precipitous tumble in Chinese stocks.

“There was a big fall in China yesterday, so everyone is focusing on it in Asia today, with so few trading factors as many market participants in Japan and the U.S. are taking days off following the holiday,” said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust.

The CSI300 index shed 3.0 percent on Thursday, its biggest decline in almost a year and a half, on concerns about a selloff in Chinese bonds as investors reacted to the latest government curbs to reduce financial risks. It was down 0.9 percent on Friday.

“The progress of U.S. tax reform remains a key issue for markets, though that’s on hold until next week,” Sera added.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday promised “big, beautiful fat tax cuts” in his Thanksgiving message, though a majority of economists in a recent Reuters poll predicted U.S. Republicans are not expected to push the tax cuts through Congress this year.

Economists are also sceptical that the legislation would provide a significant boost to the economy.

The euro was steady at $1.1852, not far from last week’s one-month high of $1.1862. For the week, it was up 0.5 percent.

The single currency got a boost from European business surveys, which pointed to a strengthening growth outlook for the region. Figures tracking both the services and manufacturing industries in Europe were better than expected.

Sterling edged down 0.1 percent to $1.3290, though it was 0.6 percent higher for the week and remained close to Thursday’s six-week high of $1.3337 ahead of a visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May to Brussels later on Friday for Brexit talks. Source: Reuters