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LONDON: The dollar rose towards a 10-week high against a basket of other currencies today as concerns about global growth pervaded markets.
World stocks have sold off in October, beset by worries over corporate earnings and geopolitical uncertainty.
That has lifted the dollar – a currency that typically outperforms in risk-off periods – but the currency has strengthened only moderately.
“This likely reflects a number of factors, including long dollar positioning and, by the end of this week, some modest repricing of Federal Reserve expectations,” said Zach Pandl, co-head of foreign exchange at Goldman Sachs.
The dollar index rose 0.2% to 96.517 after gaining 0.7% last week when it hit a ten-month high.
The duelling tariffs imposed by the United States and China have also lifted the dollar. The market has assumed that while the US economy will be hit by reduced trade, it will be hurt less than its trading partners.
“There seems little short-term catalyst for investors to move away from overweight positions in the high-yielding dollar,” said ING’s head of FX strategy Chris Turner.
“Keeping the dollar bid this week should be a continuation of strong US data. At the same time, we will be watching developments in China,” he said.
The US economy slowed less than expected in the third quarter, data showed on Friday, as the strongest consumer spending in nearly four years and a surge in inventory investment offset a tariff-related drop in soybean exports.
Among emerging markets, Brazilian-linked stocks got a lift from the victory in the country’s presidential election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who campaigned on promises to clean up politics and crack down on crime.
The safe-haven Japanese yen has benefited from the global sell-off in riskier assets as investors unwound carry trade exposures. It gained 0.6% last week and today traded flat at 111.96 per dollar.
Investors will be watching the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy announcement, due tomorrow.
The euro hovered around US$1.14 (RM4.76), its lowest in more than two months. Investors saw some relief after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners gave her conservatives until next year to deliver more policy results.
However, concerns loomed over her future after both parties suffered in a regional election on Sunday.
Sterling held near a two-month trough of US$1.28 before Britain’s annual budget due today.
Finance Minister Philip Hammond is likely to urge his Conservative Party to back the government’s plan for Brexit, or put at risk a long-awaited easing of austerity. – Reuters
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