Dollar dips versus yen after data-inspired surge; G20 holds few surprises

Reuters Tokyo/Sydney | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 29, 2016


The dollar took a breather against the yen on Monday following a steep climb on upbeat US data, while reaction to a weekend meeting of G20 policymakers was muted as the outcome produced no major surprises.

The dollar was down 0.4 per cent at 113.53 yen after rising roughly 0.9 per cent to a high of 114.00 on Friday when a positive set of US data helped revive prospects of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates this year.

Indicators showed a solid rise in US consumer spending and the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. Fourth quarter US GDP growth was also revised up to 1 per cent.

The dollar had sunk to a 16-month low below 111 yen earlier this month as risk aversion driven by global growth concerns — notably towards the Chinese economy — and turbulence in equities markets stoked demand for the safe-haven yen.

“The biggest factor behind the dollar’s recent rebound is trust in the US economy being resurrected. Reviving expectations for a rate hike by the Fed is a key factor to halt the dollar’s recent depreciation,’’ said Koji Fukaya, president of FPG Securities in Tokyo.

“It is premature to declare that the yen’s rally is over. But recent long positions on the yen were among some of the biggest we have seen over the past 10 years, and it appears that speculators are beginning to unwind these large positions.’’

Net long contracts on the yen rose to 52,734 in the week ended February 23 from 47,901 the week before, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed. That was the largest long position since February 2012.

The dollar index was steady at 98.054, within reach of a three-week high of 98.260 scaled on Friday.

The euro stood nearly unchanged at $1.0929 after retreating 0.8 per cent on Friday. A move below $1.0912 would take the common currency to a one-month trough.

G20 communique

The week-end G20 meeting ended with no new coordinated action to spur global growth.

A communique from the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers flagged a series of risks to world growth, including volatile capital flows, a sharp fall in commodity prices and the potential “shock’’ of a British exit from the EU.

G20 ministers agreed to use “all policy tools — monetary, fiscal and structural — individually and collectively’’ to reach the group’s economic goals.

“Expectations for any substantive commitments out of G20 were sufficiently low such that we shouldn’t expect any significant market response early this week,’’ said Ray Attrill, global co-head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank.

The Australian dollar was flirting with 71 US cents, nursing a 1.5 per cent drop on Friday. Its New Zealand counterpart was near 66 cents after suffering a 1.4 per cent slide.

Australia’s central bank meets on Tuesday and is expected to keep interest rates unchanged. The market will be keen to hear its latest assessment on the global economy.

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Published on February 29, 2016
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