March 4, 2019 / 1:04 AM / 20 days ago

Dollar nudges up on hopes for U.S.-China trade deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rose against a basket of major currencies on Monday on traders’ bets that China and the United States are moving closer to a trade deal that would end sparring between the world’s two biggest economies.

Australian dollars are seen in an illustration photo February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

The greenback gained for a fourth straight day, bolstered by the rise in U.S. bond yields with benchmark 10-year yields hitting one-month peaks last week.

The gap between benchmark 10-year yields in the United States and Germany has widened to 257 basis points from 240 basis points at the beginning of the year.

The United States and China appeared to be close to a deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday, but the timing and details for a deal remained unclear.

“It’s less drag on the growth side,” said Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities in New York.

Issa cautioned a U.S.-China trade deal may not be enough to stem slowing business activities in Europe and emerging markets.

The ICE dollar index was up 0.16 percent at 96.678.

The Chinese yuan edged up 0.08 percent to 6.7097 to the dollar in offshore trade, close to last week’s 7 1/2-month high of 6.6737.

The euro was notably weaker against the greenback, falling 0.33 percent at 1.1331.

Some analysts now expect a fresh round of bank funding at a European Central Bank meeting later this week that would boost the dollar.

“With so much dovishness priced before the ECB meeting this week, Draghi will struggle to exceed market expectations and this may help the euro,” said Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole based in London.

The dollar’s increase was limited in the wake of comments from U.S. President Donald Trump, who on Saturday renewed his criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Trump blamed the central bank’s current monetary stance for boosting the dollar, which he believes is hurting U.S. exports.

The greenback was hovering near a 10-week high of 112.08 yen reached on Friday. It was last at 111.73 yen, marginally lower on the day.

Speculators increased their bullish dollar bets in mid-February to their highest level in four weeks, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday showed.

(GRAPHIC: FX volatility and long dollar bets - tmsnrt.rs/2C0ZmMI)

Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in LONDON; Editing by Susan Thomas and Lisa Shumaker

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