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Dollar holds gains as traders look to U.S. data for policy cues

Economy1 hour ago (May 02, 2021 09:10PM ET)

(C) Reuters. A portrait of Benjamin Franklin on a U.S. One-hundred dollar bill is pictured at Interbank Inc. money exchange in Tokyo

By Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar clung to a recent bounce on Monday as investors made a cautious start to a week crammed with central bank meetings and big-ticket U.S. economic data, looking for clues on the outlook for global inflation and for policymakers’ response.

Asia trade was thinned by public holidays in Japan and China that also kept a lid on volatility, leaving the greenback where it settled after a Friday leap. It steadied at $1.2029 per euro and bought 109.28 yen.

The dollar index, measured against six major currencies, held at 91.242. The index dropped 2% through April as a positive view of global recovery prospects lifted trade-exposed currencies at the dollar’s expense.

“We expect the dollar to trend lower because of the improving global economic outlook,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) analyst Kim Mundy in an emailed note, with U.S. import demand also likely to support exporters’ currencies.

“Nevertheless,” she said “the risk of short bouts of dollar strength remain if solid data push U.S. Treasury yields materially higher.”

The Australian and New Zealand dollars both rose though April, but dropped on Friday when strong U.S. consumption figures boosted the U.S. currency.

The Aussie rose 0.1% $0.7724 on Monday to trade just above its 20-day moving average at $0.7714, while the kiwi edged 0.2% higher to $0.7174, also just above its 20-day moving average. Sterling steadied at $1.3825.

U.S. manufacturing surveys are due on Wednesday followed by crucial April labour market numbers on Friday.

Forecasts are that 978,000 jobs were created in the month. However analysts say the market response to a surprise either way may be hard to guess, as investors have begun to fret that strong data may prompt central bankers to taper their support.

“The risk is for a hotter number,” said Chris Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne.

“But will good numbers lead to a broad risk-off vibe, as traders’ price in higher rate expectations, and the dollar rallies,” he added. “I suspect we’re getting to a point where really good data could start to become bad for markets.”

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan caused a stir on Friday by calling for beginning the conversation about tapering, although Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has been clear that he is likely to be patient.

Powell is due to speak later on Monday and will be followed by a raft of Fed officials this week. Central bank policy meetings are also scheduled this week in Australia, Britain and Norway.

In Australia, no policy changes are expected on Tuesday although traders will look to a speech by deputy Reserve Bank of Australia governor Guy Debelle on Thursday for insight into the bank’s thinking around its bond purchases outlook.

Asset purchases are likewise the focus when the Bank of England meets on Thursday, as well as perhaps an upgrade of its economic outlook, while Norges Bank – which projects hiking rates this year – is expected to stick with its hawkish tone.

Dollar holds gains as traders look to U.S. data for policy cues

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