By Stanley White
TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar steadied against major currencies on Monday as traders looked to more data for a gauge on the health of the global economy and the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole retreat for guidance on the outlook for U.S. monetary policy.
Sentiment for the greenback has improved somewhat due to supportive data on business activity and home sales, but there are still concerns that additional monetary easing may be necessary to keep economic growth on track.
Traders in the yuan, and across the broader financial markets, are also nervously watching Sino-U.S. ties as President Donald Trump’s wide-ranging diplomatic dispute with China shows no signs of abating.
“There could be a short-term bounce in the dollar, especially against the euro,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior foreign exchange strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.
“In the long term, the dollar will resume its decline because the Fed has to commit to aggressive easing for an very long time.”
Against the euro , the dollar held steady at $1.1803, clinging onto gains made late last week.
The British pound bought $1.3095 and traded at 90.14 pence per euro .
The greenback fetched 0.9121 Swiss franc , holding onto a 0.5% gain from Friday.
The yen held steady, with the dollar changing hands at 105.76 yen , showing little reaction after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe entered hospital on Monday amid speculation about his health.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will discuss monetary policy on Thursday at the opening day of the Kansas City Fed’s annual symposium.
This year the meeting will be held online, and not at the hunting and fishing resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The quantitative easing that the Fed has deployed so far has flooded financial markets with excess liquidity and weighed on the dollar.
Last week the dollar index =USD> against a basket of six major currencies fell to the lowest in more than two years. It was last trading at 93.155, little changed from Friday.
The world’s policymakers have unleashed an unprecedented wave of monetary easing and fiscal support to offset the economic drag caused by the pandemic.
However, many countries are now battling a second wave of infections, which could further delay a full-fledged economic recovery. As usual, investors will also be watching out for a further run of data this week for clues on the global economy, including a second estimate of U.S. GDP for the second quarter as well as weekly jobless claims and some second tier Asian indicators.
The euro was on the defensive following disappointing manufacturing and services sector data for Europe released on Friday.
The common currency’s next major hurdle is the release of the closely-watched Ifo sentiment survey on Tuesday.
The euro has pulled back slightly from a two-year high versus the dollar reached last week, which makes it vulnerable to short-term profit taking, some analysts say.
Net short positions in the dollar declined from a more than nine-year high hit a week earlier, according to calculations by Reuters and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday, which suggests that the greenback’s declines could start to slow.
The speculative community has been short the U.S dollar since mid-March.
The onshore yuan traded at 6.9175, little changed on the day amid lingering doubts about frayed U.S.-China ties.
Trump on Sunday raised the possibility of decoupling the U.S. economy from China as part of a broad-ranging dispute with Beijing over China’s role in global trade and advanced technology.
The Australian dollar edged up to $0.7175 after the state of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus infections in seven weeks on Monday, fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding.
The New Zealand dollar was steady at $0.6542.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
Economy Week Ahead: Factories, Consumer Spending and Employment – Wall Street Journal
The U.S. jobs report for September highlights a week of data that will show how economies are recovering from coronavirus-induced recessions and from continued disruptions related to the pandemic.
China’s official purchasing managers index for manufacturing is expected to show factory activity expanded for the seventh straight month in September. Economists said manufacturers have sped up production to avoid shipment delays in the event buyers experience a return of Covid-19 this winter.
Bank of Japan’s
tankan corporate sentiment survey for the third quarter is expected to improve, reflecting a gradual resumption of economic activity. In the second quarter, sentiment among Japan’s large manufacturers deteriorated to its lowest level in 11 years and even a significant gain will still show that more companies say business conditions are unfavorable than favorable.
The number of workers covered by Europe’s furlough schemes has been declining since lockdowns were eased, but without causing a surge in the number of people without jobs. That trend likely continued in August, with figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency expected to show that the jobless rate rose to 8.1% from 7.9% in July.
U.S. jobless claims have steadied at an elevated level in recent weeks, suggesting a slowdown in the labor market’s recovery. Economists expect only a slight decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits during the week ended Sept. 26, underscoring continued labor-market disruption and a historically high number of layoffs.
U.S. consumer spending is expected to post another monthly increase in August, though at a slower pace than recent months. That would likely reflect several trends, including a partial rebound in employment, the expiration of some federal government benefits tied to the pandemic, and strong demand for many goods alongside a weaker recovery in the service sector.
The Institute for Supply Management’s September purchasing managers index for manufacturing is likely to reflect a strong rebound in factory activity amid a slow global recovery and strong domestic demand for autos, electronics and other goods.
Consumer prices in the eurozone were lower than they were a year earlier in August, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that they remained so in September, increasing the likelihood that the European Central Bank will have to provide further stimulus if it is to meet its inflation target.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to post another strong gain and the unemployment rate to decline in September as more businesses recall workers. But the pace of hiring might have slowed and the overall level of employment will likely remain millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, underscoring the severe damage from the pandemic and the long road to full recovery.
Trump says the economy is booming. He's right — but you don't feel it – CNN
The other side
Fears of funds drying up
Between the economy and coronavirus pandemic, Biden keeps his advantage nationally: POLL – ABC News
Biden’s 54%-44% advantage over Trump in a two-way contest precisely matches the last national ABC/Post poll in mid-August. Biden’s support slips to 49% when the Libertarian and Green Party candidates are included, versus 43% for Trump.
The results underscore Trump’s precarious position as the first president in 81 years of modern polling never to achieve majority approval for his work in office. He’s at 44% approval among all Americans, ranging from 52% for handling the economy to 40% on the coronavirus outbreak. Fifty-eight percent disapprove of his performance on the pandemic, a key to Biden’s support.
At the same time, the presence of Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins could pose a challenge to Biden in close states. Biden’s 5-point decline when these candidates are included is a significant, albeit slight, shift.
Biden continues to trail Trump, by 20 percentage points, in strong enthusiasm among their respective likely voters in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. Still, another measure finds broad antipathy toward Trump: Among those who don’t support him, 59% say his reelection would be a crisis for the country. Among those not backing Biden, fewer — but still 50% — say it’d be a crisis if he won.
It’s true, as well, that national preferences don’t always reflect Electoral College outcomes, as was the case in 2016 and 2000. Recent ABC/Post state-level polls found virtually even races in Florida and Arizona and a close contest in Wisconsin, although a wide Biden lead in Minnesota, which Trump has sought to contest.
Trump and Biden meet Tuesday in their first presidential campaign debate.
What’s likely to matter more is turnout, a question complicated this year by pandemic-related concerns. Just 46% of likely voters plan to cast their ballot in person on Election Day; 50% instead plan to vote early or absentee. Who goes through with it is highly consequential: Trump leads by 19 points, 58%-39%, among Election Day voters, while it’s Biden by more than a 2-1 margin, 67%-31%, among those who intend to vote before then.
The pandemic, of course, has disrupted far more than balloting plans. Sixty-two percent of adults worry that they or an immediate family member may catch the virus, which has claimed more than 200,000 American lives. Likely voters who express this concern favor Biden, 71%-27%.
The economy, even in a pandemic-prompted recession, works better for Trump. While just 40% of Americans say it’s in good shape, that’s up from 31% just last month. And Trump leads by 82%-17% among likely voters who rate the economy positively. Further, a quarter call the economy the top issue in their vote, and those economy-focused voters favor Trump by 80%-18%.
That said, in a head-to-head test, the two candidates run very closely in trust to handle the economy, 49%-46%, Trump-Biden. And other results on trust are revealing: While Trump has hit hard on the issue of crime and safety, it’s Biden who’s slightly ahead in trust to handle it, 50%-44%. Biden leads by eight points in trust to handle the next Supreme Court nomination (as reported Friday), 11 points on the pandemic, 16 points on health care and 20 points on equal treatment of racial groups.
Trust on crime is about the same in the suburbs, 50%-46%, Biden-Trump, as nationally overall. Suburban men trust Trump more on crime by 20 points, but suburban women — a group Trump has focused on — trust Biden more, by 61%-37%. That tilts to Biden because of the share of suburban women — about 1 in 3 — who are racial or ethnic minorities. (Among suburban white women, it’s 51%-46%, Biden-Trump.)
There’s one warning flare here for Biden: His lead on trust to handle the pandemic has shrunk from 20 points during the summertime surge in cases in mid-July, 54%-34%, to today’s 11-point margin, 51%-40%.
As noted, the economy leads as the most important issue, with no consensus on what comes next. Seventeen percent pick the pandemic as their top issue, and likely voters who say so support Biden by 84%-13%. About as many say it’s either health care or equal treatment of racial groups; again more than 8 in 10 in both of these groups back Biden. Twelve percent cite crime and safety as their main concern — and in this group, 84% support Trump. Lastly, 11% focus on the next Supreme Court nomination, with closer vote preferences, 54%-45%, Biden-Trump.
In another delineating result, the public by 54%-42% supports recent protests against police treatment of Black people. Eight in 10 supporters of these protests favor Biden; 77% of opponents are with Trump.
Across issues, these results illuminate the logic of the current campaign, as Trump touts economic recovery and raises crime concerns while Biden pushes on the pandemic response, health care and equal treatment, and both navigate the trickier Supreme Court issue.
The impact of third-party candidates may be tough to gauge, since the pandemic has constrained their campaigns just as it has Trump’s and Biden’s. This survey asked two-candidate preferences first, then re-asked the question with Jorgensen and Hawkins added. Biden, as noted goes from 54% to 49% with these two included; that decline is significant at the 90% confidence level, as opposed to the conventional standard, 95%.
Trump moving from 44% to 43% is not statistically significant. Four percent express support for Jorgensen, who’s on the ballot in all 50 states; 3% for Hawkins, who’s on the ballot in 28 states. (In 2016, the Libertarian won 3%, the Green candidate, 1%.)
Using two-candidate preferences, huge gaps are evident across population groups. Trump leads by 13 points among men; Biden, by a wide 31 points among women. Trump’s up 6 points against Biden among nongraduates, while Biden leads by 30 points among college grads. The race is close among likely voters age 50 and older, while those younger than 30 back Biden by nearly 2-1 (using registered voters for an adequate sample size).
Unpeeling some groups demonstrates the depth of the gender gap, in particular. While the race is a close 52-47%, Biden-Trump, in the suburbs, that’s 60-38%, Trump-Biden, among suburban men, compared with 66-34%, Biden-Trump, among suburban women. And it’s Trump up 8 among men who are political independents, versus a 77%-20% Biden-Trump blowout among independent women.
In another sharp difference, evangelical white Protestants, a core Republican group, support Trump by an expected 75%-25% — but non-evangelical white Protestants go 58%-41%, Biden-Trump. (White Protestants account for nearly 3 in 10 likely voters; 57% are evangelicals, the rest not.)
Notable, too, is that Trump and Biden are dead even, 49%-49%, in households that include a veteran or active-duty member of the military; these generally are thought to be a more pro-GOP group. Trump took criticism in the past month for reports that he had disparaged military service, which he denied.
Among other groupings, Biden leads by 54%-42% in the 13 states that currently are the most contested by the candidates (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin). Moreover, it’s Biden by 20 points in the blue states won by Hillary Clinton, while dead even, 49%-49%, in the 2016 red states. Trump won those states four years ago by 53%-42%.
Comparisons to 2016, based on ABC News exit poll results, are telling. Among the most striking differences:
Trump, at the same time, has retained and even consolidated his core support groups. Overall, among 2020 likely voters who report having supported him in 2016, 91% support him now. He’s backed by 87% of conservatives, who account for a substantial 36% of all likely voters. And while Biden would be just the second Catholic president, white Catholics — an on-again, off-again swing voter group — side with Trump, 55%-44%.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Sept. 21 to 24, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,008 adults, including 889 registered voters and 739 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effects, for the full sample and registered voters, and 4.0 points for likely voters. Partisan divisions are 31%-27%-37%, Democrats-Republicans-independents, among all respondents; 33%-29%-35% among registered voters; and 33%-32%-32% among likely voters.
The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Maryland. See details on the survey’s methodology here.
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