Dollar cements gains after rally; ECB minutes eyed

Reuters TOKYO | Updated on January 08, 2018


The dollar edged higher against a basket of currencies on Thursday as investors consolidated positions after a recent rise, with minutes from the European Central Bank's latest meeting likely to be the key event of the day.

Despite a raft of dollar positive news in recent days ranging from positive economic data to potential US tax reforms, the greenback has gained less than 3 per cent over last month against a broad basket of currencies.

US tax reform, Chinese policy

Gavekal strategists said any major US tax reform or significant changes in Chinese policy at the upcoming party Congress in Beijing after it cut reserve requirements over the weekend, could be the catalyst for more dollar gains.

This week's data showed US service sector growth hit its fastest in 12 years in September and private employers added more jobs than forecast despite hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Higher US Treasury yields also pushed the dollar higher. Ten year yields have climbed nearly 30 basis points over the last month to 2.34 per cent. Morgan Stanley strategists said yields “were trading at crucial levels with a break of 2.39 per cent leading yields higher".

The euro edged higher to $1.1773, in sight of a six-week low of $1.1695 hit earlier this week.

ECB policy meet

The immediate focus was on minutes of the European Central Bank's September policy meeting due at 1130 GMT.

The ECB signalled at the meeting that while it could announce a plan this month for a gradual exit from its very easy monetary policy, it was in no hurry to end it.

The euro zone's central bank also mentioned the potentially negative aspects of a strong euro at the September policy meeting, so markets will look closely at the minutes to gauge what was discussed about the currency.

Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING Bank in London, said any language on discussions leaning towards acceptance of a stronger euro under certain macro conditions could be a huge boost for the currency.

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Published on October 05, 2017
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