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Friday, 22 June 2018

Dollar eases off 11-month high; pound buoyant after hawkish BOE


TOKYO (Reuters) - The dollar pulled back from an 11-month peak against a basket of major currencies on Friday as investors took profits after the currency’s earlier rally, while sterling rebounded from a seven-month low after a slightly hawkish tilt from the Bank of England surprised the market.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell sharply to a 1-1/2 year low, raising concern about the world’s largest economy and prompting some traders to book profits on bullish dollar bets, analysts said.

“The weak Philly Fed index reinforced fears that President Trump’s trade war would hurt the U.S. economic outlook and worsened the mood,” said Kengo Suzuki, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities.

The Philadelphia Fed index on U.S. Mid-Atlantic business activity fell to 19.9 in June from 34.4 in May, its steepest fall since January 2014.

Lower yields on U.S. Treasuries and the euro finding chart support in the $1.15 area also contributed to the dollar’s weakness.

Escalation in the U.S.-China trade conflict had underpinned safe-haven support for the dollar in recent days. The Philly Fed weaker data dragged down U.S. Treasury yields, with the 10-year yield falling to 2.897 percent in North American trade overnight.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six other currencies, was effectively flat at 94.81 after touching 95.533 the previous day, its highest level since last July.

The euro EUR= rebounded from a fresh 11-month low of $1.1508 it hit overnight after testing technical support in the $1.15 area. It last traded $1.1609, up 0.05 percent on the day.

The single currency had fallen on bets of a protracted period of monetary policy divergence between the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

In addition, the Italian government’s appointment on Thursday of two euro skeptics to head key finance committees reignited worries about anti-euro voices in the euro zone’s third-largest economy.


Against the yen, the greenback was little changed and last traded 110.02 yen JPY=, pulling back from a one-week high of 110.76 scaled the previous day amid lingering concerns over the trade dispute between the United States and China.

“The potential for all-out trade war, European political risks and emerging market volatility remain potent factors that should contain dollar/yen within the current range, though the lack of downside over the last week or so suggests stronger underlying demand,” wrote Robert Rennie, head of market strategy at Westpac.

Sterling last traded at $1.3262 GBP=D3, not far from Thursday's high of $1.3270.

The pound rose 0.7 percent overnight, recovering from a seven-month trough, after BOE Chief Economist Andy Haldane unexpectedly joined the minority of policymakers calling for rates to rise to 0.75 percent, citing concerns about growing wage pressure.

The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was a shade firmer at C$1.3300 after hitting a fresh one-year low of C$ 1.3336 overnight, when it was pressured by lower oil prices and an uncertain outlook for trade, with investors eyeing a meeting of major oil producers.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Friday to decide output strategies amid calls from top consumers such as the United States, China and India to cool down oil prices and support the world economy by producing more crude.

Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, has so far been the main barrier to a new deal as it said OPEC was unlikely to reach an agreement and should reject pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to pump more oil.

The Mexican peso was at 20.29 per dollar after reaching 20.2000 the previous day, its strongest level in more than two weeks, after Mexico's central bank increased benchmark rates by a quarter point to 7.75 percent in a bid to hold down inflation.

Reporting by Tomo Uetake

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