July 11, 2019 / 2:45 AM / 5 days ago

Dollar hovers at three-week high on reduced bets for deep U.S. rate cut

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar edged up on Monday, hovering at a three-week high, as it held on to gains after news of a stronger-than-expected increase in U.S. jobs in June scaled back traders’ expectations of a sharp Federal Reserve rate cut at the end of July.

FILE PHOTO: A man counts U.S. dollars in Tehran, Iran July 7, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/ WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo

Traders await Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s two-day testimony before Congress, which starts on Wednesday for clues about a rate decrease.

“Foreign-exchange markets started the week on a quiet note, with currencies trading in tight ranges, as traders shifted their focus from Friday’s strong U.S. payrolls data to testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell,” said Ellis Phifer, senior market strategist at Raymond James.

Among emerging market currencies, the Turkish lira fell steeply after President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the central bank governor, sparking worries about the bank’s independence.

U.S. non-farm payrolls rebounded in June, rising the most in five months, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The solid job gain slashed expectations of a 50 basis point rate cut at the Fed’s July 30-31 policy meeting, although modest wage gains and other data showing the U.S. economy was losing steam point to a quarter point rate cut.

(GRAPGIC: Bets on bold first rate-cut from the Fed - tmsnrt.rs/2XTkkpn)

At 11:34 a.m. (1534 GMT), the dollar index was up 0.08% at 97.359, which was close to a 3-week high of 97.443 hit on Friday.

The greenback’s rebound follows a period of weakness as mounting expectations for Fed rate cuts weighed.

The dollar strengthened 0.18% to 108.67 yen after hitting 108.73, which was the highest since June 11.

The euro was marginally lower at $1.1214 after hitting $1.1208 on Friday.

The common currency has been under pressure from dollar strength and weakness in the German industrial sector.

The British pound, which hit a six-month low below $1.25 on Friday after poor economic data and on heightened expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates in 2020, fell 0.22% to $1.2508.

Turkey’s lira at one point slid to a two-week low of 5.8245 to the dollar and was last down 1.59% at 5.724.

“Some naive market participants might still hope that the new central bank governor will come across as being independent in a statement announced for this week and at least does not cut interest rates right away,” Commerzbank analysts said.

Bank notes of different currencies, including Euro, U.S. Dollar, Turkish Lira or Brazilian Reais, are photographed in Frankfurt, Germany, in this illustration picture taken May 7, 2017. Picture taken May 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Illustration

“That may be the case but does not change the fact that medium term sensible Turkish monetary policy will not be possible.”

In a written statement on Saturday, new governor Murat Uysal said he would implement monetary policy instruments independently with a focus on achieving and maintaining the primary objective of price stability.

(This story corrects Powell’s testimony to start on Wednesday not Tuesday in second paragraph)

Additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in LONDON; Editing by Jan Harvey and Steve Orlofsky

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