Thursday, 6 July 2017

Dollar steadies after Fed minutes, markets await more central bank cues

The dollar steadied against its peers early on Thursday after the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes took the wind out of its advance, with the market awaiting comments by central bankers and U.S. data for its next cues.

The dollar index against a basket of major currencies was flat at 96.275, having slid from a one-week high of 96.512 touched on Wednesday.

The greenback had rallied earlier in the week after upbeat U.S. economic indicators lifted Treasury yields to multi-week highs. The surge helped the dollar index come off a nine-month low of 95.470 reached last week as investors increased expectations for central banks in Europe to begin scaling back monetary stimulus later this year.

But the dollar's advance stalled after the Fed's minutes on its June 13-14 policy meeting released on Wednesday showed a rift among policymakers over the pace of future U.S. rate increases and disappointed some dollar bulls.

"Overall, the Fed's meeting minutes sounded hawkish in my view, as the possibility was mentioned for the reduction of its balance sheet in the near-term. But the dollar still slipped, showing that it has become top-heavy," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

"The market has gotten used to the dollar strengthening this week. So even if upcoming indicators like the U.S. ISM report are in line with expectations, the dollar may drop on disappointment. The currency may need a strong upside data surprise to move further up."

The dollar was little changed at 113.240 yen, pulling back from a seven-week high of 113.690 reached overnight.

"The dollar is expected to move in a 110-115 yen range through to September. The bias is for a stronger dollar as the Fed appears determined to normalise monetary policy," said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.

The euro inched down 0.1 percent to $1.1338 following its decline to a one-week trough of $1.1313 on Wednesday.

U.S. data on tap later in the day includes the ADP employment report, ISM non-manufacturing PMI and the initial jobless claims.

Investors will also look to comments from San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell for their potential impact on U.S. yields.

For the euro and European bond markets, markets await the European Central Bank's June policy meeting minutes due later on Thursday. ECB executive board member Peter Praet is also scheduled to take part in a conference in Paris.

The Australian dollar was 0.1 percent lower at $0.7593. It showed little reaction to data showing that Australia's trade surplus rebounded sharply in May.

The Aussie had plumbed a nine-day low of $0.7570 overnight, dragged down by declines in prices of commodities like copper and crude oil.

The overnight fall in oil also jerked the Canadian dollar away from 10-month highs. The loonie was 0.15 percent weaker at C$1.2976 per dollar.

It had reached $1.2912 per dollar on Tuesday, its strongest since September 2016, after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz added more support to the view the central bank will raise interest rates as early as next week.

Reference: Shinichi Saoshiro

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