Euro hits two-week high as hopes rise for US-China trade talks

A bank employee holds a pile of 500 euro notes at a bank branch in Madrid January 13, 2011. — Reuters pic
A bank employee holds a pile of 500 euro notes at a bank branch in Madrid 13, 2011. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Sept 14 – The euro rose above US$1.17 to a two-week high today after weaker-than-expected US data continued to weigh on the dollar and a broader recovery in investment sentiment supported the single currency.

The ’s decision on Thursday to hike interest rates sparked a recovery across emerging market assets while hopes of a new round of trade talks to reduce tensions between United States and buoyed broader market sentiment further on Friday.

“The bigger move is the . It’s a continuation of yesterday after weaker US inflation data,” said Esther Reichelt, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

“The market is focused on whether the improvement in sentiment and the recovery in emerging markets will continue.”

The euro rose 0.2 per cent to US$1.1714, its highest since Aug. 30, while the dollar index fell.

The European Central Bank kept policy unchanged as expected on Thursday, staying on track to end its purchases this year and raise interest rates next autumn. The policy meeting’s impact on the euro was minimal.

Weaker US inflation data continued to hurt the dollar. The US consumer price index (CPI), the government’s broadest inflation gauge, rose just 0.2 per cent in August and less than the 0.3 per cent projected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Emerging currencies, like the South African rand and the Mexican peso, held onto to gains after a big rise, as investors welcomed Turkey’s central bank’s move to hike policy rate to 24 per cent to restore confidence in the lira.

The Turkish lira fell slightly to 6.040 per dollar after ending the previous day on a gain of more than 4 per cent.

The lira surged after Turkey’s central bank raised its benchmark one-week repo rate by 625 basis points to 24 per cent on Thursday, in a bid to stabilise the currency, which had slumped to a record low against the dollar a month ago.

China’s slipped 0.1 per cent to 6.8475.

Data released on Friday showed China’s investment growth for August fall to a low, while industrial output and retail sales for the month both rose by more than expected.

The Australian dollar, seen as a proxy for China-related trades as well as a barometer of risk sentiment, rose 0.2 per cent to US$0.7207.

The Aussie is on track for a more than 1 per cent gain on the week, having pulled back from a 2-1/2-year low of US$0.7085 plumbed on Tuesday.

Adam Cole, chief currency strategist at RBC, said the Aussie had fallen as it was a proxy for managed Asian currencies.

“Nonetheless, our bias is to look for opportunities to use recent Australian dollar weakness to play the topside,” he said.

The yen rose to 111.83 versus the dollar, up 0.1 per cent on the day. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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