Dollar prices fall as U.S. yields decline

Dollar prices slipped on Thursday as risk aversion in the broader markets pushed benchmark U.S. yields to a nine-day low.

The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies was down 0.2% at 97.081.

The index had climbed to a one-week peak of 97.444 the previous day on stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales and a slump in sterling.

But it edged lower as safe-haven Treasury yields fell in the wake of weak U.S. housing market data and concerns about the prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute.

“The dollar basically handed back earlier gains as Treasury yields pulled back and on IMF comments, and came back to where it was a few days ago,” said Takuya Kanda, general manager at Gaitame.Com Research Institute.

Various economic data have given conflicting signs regarding the state of the U.S. economy, but that does not change the bigger picture of the dollar facing downward pressure due to an expected rate cut by the Federal Reserve later this month, Kanda said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday the greenback was overvalued by 6% to 12%, based on near-term economic fundamentals.

The Fed is widely expected to lower interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) at its July 30-31 policy meeting, with some in the market wagering on a larger 50 bps cut.

Sterling was a shade higher at $1.2438. It had stumbled to $1.2382, its lowest since April 2017 on Wednesday amid growing risks of Britain leaving the European Union in a no-deal Brexit, before selling abated.

The euro added to modest overnight gains and edged up 0.1% to $1.1238. The single currency’s gains were limited as it was restrained by expectations of easing from the European Central Bank as early as next week.

The dollar was 0.2% lower at 107.730 yen, having gone as low as 107.640, its weakest level since July 3.

The Australian dollar advanced after data on Thursday showed the country’s jobless rate remained stable and underemployment decline in June, reducing the prospect of near-term easing by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The Aussie was 0.3% higher at $0.7031.

“The Australian dollar drew a significant part of its support from the June underemployment rate, which fell to 8.2% from 8.6%,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief foreign exchange strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

The underemployment rate has a higher correlation with policy rates and wages compared to the jobless rate and is likely to attract more attention going forward, Yamamoto said.

The New Zealand dollar hovered near a three-month peak of $0.6745 scaled overnight. The kiwi has gained more than 0.5% this week, supported by positive domestic factors such as strong inflation.

Source: Reuters

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