The greenback scaled a 14-month high on the euro and a 19-month top on the yen last week as markets reckoned U.S. interest rates could rise ahead of global peers.
Shares in embattled developer China Evergrande were halted in Hong Kong without any immediate reason, rekindling market nerves about the possibility of global contagion – or at least distress in China’s property sector.
The euro dipped back below $1.16 and at $1.1595 is not far from last week’s trough at $1.1563. The yen edged higher to 110.99 per dollar. Sterling, the Aussie and kiwi all eased a fraction and the offshore yuan fell 0.3%.
Investors are concerned that a collapse at Evergrande could hurt an already fragile Chinese economy and drag on global growth. The U.S. dollar index rose 0.1% to 94.049. The Australian dollar was down 0.2% to $0.7257 and the kiwi was off 0.1% at $0.6932. [AUD/]
“(There’s) a bit of nervousness,” said Moh Siong Sim, currency analyst at the Bank of Singapore, even if most traders still think Evergrande’s systemic risk can be contained.
“It’s part of the wall of worry,” he said, which the market could eventually “climb” if the COVID backdrop improves, growth stabilises and inflation concerns subside, but which for now is keeping investor sentiment fairly dour.
Besides Evergrande a Friday CNBC report which said U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will announce on Monday that China is not complying with U.S.-China trade rules also provided support to the dollar, especially against the yuan.
Chinese markets were closed for a holiday.
In the week ahead, the Reserve Bank of Australia meets on Tuesday and is expected to keep policy steady. Across the Tasman, a 25 basis point hike from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday is priced in.
And on Friday, U.S. labour data is expected to show continued improvement in the job market, with a forecast for 460,000 jobs to have been added in September – enough to keep the Federal Reserve on course to begin tapering before year’s end.
“The question is whether there is a number that alters the Fed’s view on tapering its bond purchases in November, and what a really weak or hot number means amid the backdrop of rising stagflation fears,” said Pepperstone’s head of research, Chris Weston.
“If U.S. treasuries find further buyers this week into Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls, the dollar may go on sale this week.”
Elsewhere economists polled by Reuters expect the cash rate on hold in Australia until at least 2024, as the RBA has been insisting it will be.
Swaps markets show a 97% probability of a rate hike in New Zealand on Wednesday and a 96% chance of another one in November.
Sterling, meanwhile, despite Friday gains, is still nursing losses from a sharp drawdown last week when traders shrugged off hawkish central bank rhetoric to focus on a sour outlook and the risk of both higher rates and inflation.
“Investors are judging the UK by its whole suite of fundamentals factors and movements in sterling suggest that many are not liking what they are seeing,” said Rabobank strategist Jane Foley, as the currency erases early 2021 gains.
“The UK no longer has an advantage on the vaccine front…and, while PM (Boris) Johnson likes to view Brexit as ‘done’, many businesses and commentators are only just starting to evaluate its impact.”
Sterling last bought $1.1353.
Currency bid prices at 0222 GMT
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
$1.1597 $1.1594 +0.03% -5.07% +1.1614 +1.1590
111.0400 111.0300 -0.01% +7.48% +111.0450 +110.9300
128.75 128.75 +0.00% +1.44% +128.8600 +128.6800
0.9304 0.9307 -0.05% +5.14% +0.9307 +0.9293
1.3534 1.3543 -0.05% -0.92% +1.3577 +1.3535
1.2642 1.2643 -0.02% -0.73% +1.2654 +1.2614
0.7257 0.7268 -0.14% -5.65% +0.7283 +0.7250
Dollar/Dollar 0.6932 0.6943 -0.14% -3.45% +0.6952 +0.6927
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook.; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
Dollar set for another week of losses even as Fed tapering looms
The dollar was heading for a second week of declines on Friday as sentiment stayed tilted towards riskier assets, while an intervention by the Australian central bank put a halt to the Aussie dollar’s recent surge.
The dollar index was last at 93.733, little changed in Asian hours but off 0.24% on the week, as it continues its fall from a 12-month high of 94.565 hit in earlier this month.
It had managed to stem losses on Thursday, bouncing on better U.S. jobs and housing data, but the rally petered out on Friday morning in Asia, where risk sentiment was boosted news that beleaguered developer China Evergrande Group has supplied funds to pay interest on a U.S. dollar bond, averting a default.
But traders are still trying to assess whether the dollar has scope to fall further, or if this is a temporary blip on a march higher.
“People are wondering whether we are at an inflection point, as the dollar has been weakening and that doesn’t really fit with the broader narrative that global growth is cooling and the Fed is on the path to tapering, which should be supportive for the dollar,” said Paul Mackel, global head of FX research at HSBC.
On Friday, benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields were at 1.6872%, slightly off from Thursday’s multi-month high of 1.7%, as markets continue to prepare themselves for an announcement by the Federal Reserve that it will start to wind down its massive bond buying programme, which is widely expected for November.
Mackel said part of the reason for the dollar’s weakness had been strong performances by currencies from most commodity exporting countries.
These were quieter on Friday, however, as traders took profits, analysts said, and energy prices softened.
Brent crude, which had risen above $86 dollars a barrel on Thursday, continued its tumble and was last at $84.10.
The Australian dollar was at $0.7475, off Thursday’s three-month top, as the boost to the China-exposed currency from Evergrande’s news was outweighed by action from the Reserve Bank of Australia to stem a bond sell off, as well as the pause in energy price rises.
The RBA said on Friday it had stepped in to defend its yield target for the first time in eight months, spending A$1 billion ($750 million) to dampen an aggressive bonds sell-off as traders have bet on inflation pulling forward rate hikes.
Also affected by energy prices, the Canadian dollar slipped to C$1.2352 per U.S. dollar, off Thursday’s C$1.2287, a level last seen in June.
The British pound paused for breath at $1.3798, off a month peak hit earlier in the week, to which it had been carried by growing expectations of an interest rate hike to combat rising inflationary pressures.
The euro was little changed at $1.1627, while the yen wobbled within sight of its multi-year lows, with one dollar worth 114.01 yen, compared with 114.69 earlier in the week, a four-year low.
China’s yuan eased against the dollar on Friday after the FX regulator warned of possible action if the currency market is hit by greater volatility following its recent rally. But the yuan still looked set for the biggest weekly gain since May.
Bitcoin was at $63,928, a little off Wednesday’s all-time high of $67,016
(Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Sam Holmes and Kim Coghill)
UN sets up trust fund for 'people's economy' in Afghanistan – The Globe and Mail
The United Nations said on Thursday it had set up a special trust fund to provide urgently needed cash directly to Afghans through a system tapping into donor funds frozen since the Taliban takeover in August.
With the local economy “imploding”, the aim is to inject liquidity into Afghan households to permit them to survive this winter and remain in their homeland, it said.
Achim Steiner, the U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) administrator said Germany, a first contributor, had pledged 50 million euros ($58 million) to the fund, and that it was in touch with other donors to mobilize resources.
Some 97% of Afghan households could be living below the poverty line by mid-2022, according to UNDP.
“We have to step in, we have to stabilize a ‘people’s economy’ and in addition to saving lives we also have to save livelihoods,” Steiner told a news briefing.
“Because otherwise we will confront indeed a scenario through this winter and into next year where millions and millions of Afghans are simply unable to stay on their land, in their homes, in their villages and survive,” he said.
The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that Afghanistan’s economy was set to contract https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghanistans-economic-collapse-could-prompt-refugee-crisis-imf-2021-10-19 up to 30% this year and this was likely to further fuel a refugee crisis that would affect neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe.
The Taliban takeover saw billions in central bank assets frozen https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/un-chief-liquidity-needed-stem-afghanistan-economic-humanitarian-crises-2021-10-11 and international financial institutions suspend access to funds, although humanitarian aid has continued. Banks are running out of money, civil servants have not been paid and food prices have soared.
Steiner said the challenge was to repurpose donor funds already earmarked for Afghanistan, where the Taliban, the de facto authorities, are not recognized internationally. The fund allows the international community to be “confident enough that these funds are not meant as government-to-government funding”, he said.
VIRTUALLY NO LOCAL CASH
The U.N. has discussed the programmes with the Taliban, he said, noting that 80% of the micro-businesses being helped were led by women.
“Our greatest challenge right now is that there is a economy in which there is virtually no domestic currency in circulation,” Steiner said, adding that the U.N. wanted to avoid foreign currencies dominating, which would undermine the economy.
“Our intent is to find ways very quickly in which we can convert international support into local currency in order to be able to stimulate local markets, local livelihoods. This is how you keep an economy alive,” he said.
Kanni Wignaraja, director of UNDP’s regional bureau for the Asia Pacific, said that cash would be provided to Afghan workers in public works programmes, such as drought and flood control programmes, and grants given to micro-enterprises. Temporary basic income would be paid to the vulnerable elderly and disabled, she said.
The UNDP had costed activities to be covered over the first 12 months at approximately $667 million, she said.
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