US dollar touches seven-week high, Italy worries weigh on euro

File photo of US dollar, euro and Swiss franc banknotes displayed in a bank in Budapest August 8, 2011. — Reuters pic
File photo of , euro and Swiss franc banknotes displayed in a bank in Budapest August 8, 2011. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Oct 9 — The dollar rose today, boosted by rising US yields to a seven-week peak against a basket of currencies, as the euro weakened further on worries about the tension between the European Union and Italy over that country’s budget.

The yuan steadied near a seven-week low against the greenback as a liquidity squeeze in the market in Hong Kong helped stabilize sentiment.

“The rise in US yields is much more important” to the day’s foreign exchange trading than Italy’s fiscal problems, said Thomas Flury, head of currency strategy at Global Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office in Zurich. “The market needs to digest this to see whether it’s a long-term spike.”

Investors dumped US bonds last week on fears that domestic might accelerate, prompting the Federal Reserve to hasten the pace of interest rate hikes.

On Tuesday, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield climbed to a seven-year high at 3.261 per cent before receding a tad.

An index that tracks the dollar versus six major currencies was up 0.08 per cent at 95.839 after hitting a seven-week peak at 96.155.

Sparring between Washington and Beijing on trade and Italy’s proposed hefty debt target have stoked worries about slowing , feeding safe-haven demand for the dollar.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday reduced its global growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 to 3.7 per cent from 3.9 per cent for both years.

Earlier, Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria struck a resolute tone on his controversial budget plans in Rome’s parliament. Italy’s benchmark 10-year government bond yield rose toward a 4-1/2-year high.

While the spike in Italian yields has not spread to other peripheral government debt, “it hurts the sentiment in Europe somewhat,” Flury said.

The euro fell to a seven-week low of 1.14325. It was last at 1.14850, down 0.05 per cent. The single currency was down -0.01 per cent at 130.130 yen.

A surging greenback is hurting emerging markets as they struggle with tighter liquidity and capital outflows.

The rupee fell to an all-time low of 74.395 per dollar.  

The Chinese offshore yuan fell to 6.9350 yuan per dollar before retracing to 6.9239, which was marginally weaker on the day.

At the weekend, ’s central bank cut requirements on bank reserves in a bid to add more liquidity into its system as policy-makers worried about the economic impact of a heated trade row with the United States. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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