Dollar falls on rising fears trade war will hit US growth

US dollar and Chinese yuan notes are seen in this picture illustration June 2, 2017. — Reuters pic
and yuan notes are seen in this picture illustration June 2, 2017. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Aug 12 — Increasing expectations that the US- trade war will impact American economic growth pushed the dollar lower today.

In overnight trade the Japanese yen rose to its highest level against the dollar since March 2018 – barring a flash crash in this year – as investors ramped up bets that the safe-haven currency could gain more if the trade conflict is prolonged. By mid-morning in North , the dollar was 0.33 per cent lower against the yen to 105.30.

“The stronger yen was at or near 2019 highs against its US counterpart on prospects of a long drawn-out US-China trade war. The longer the trade war drags on, the more likely it would weigh (on) the global outlook and crimp the , a negative for market morale,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

The dollar index was 0.10 per cent lower to 97.389. Against the euro it was 0.17 per cent weaker to US$1.1218.

Goldman Sachs analysts on Sunday said they no longer expected Washington and Beijing to come to a trade agreement before the 2020 presidential election. They lowered their forecast for fourth-quarter and said the chances a protracted trade war would lead to recession were rising.

Uncertainty about US trade policy could lead state-side companies to reduce their capital expenditures, hire fewer workers and produce less.

“Using industry-level data, we find that greater exposure to sales to China has been associated with slower capex growth as the trade war has intensified. We estimate a total uncertainty and sentiment drag on GDP of 0.1-0.2 per cent,” the Goldman Sachs analysts wrote.

The yen is the top performer among its big rivals in global foreign exchange markets, rising 3 per cent this month as investors have shown increased demand for Japanese government bonds after China weakened the yuan below the seven-per-dollar level last week.

As a result, hedge funds that usually borrow in yen to finance leveraged bets in other asset classes have been forced into a rapid unwinding of short positions on the yen, sending the Japanese currency higher.

Market attention will be on Chinese retail sales and industrial output for July, due out on Wednesday, to gauge the trade war’s impact on domestic activity.

Investors will also be focused on the US Federal Reserve’s annual symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later in the week, seeking greater clarity on the future path of interest rates. Markets are expecting two to three additional rate cuts from the Fed by the end of the year. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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