Asia

Dollar holds steady as investors await Powell for catalysts

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar steadied against major currencies on Monday as traders looked to the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole retreat for guidance on the outlook for U.S. monetary policy.

Sentiment for the greenback has improved somewhat due to supportive data on business activity and home sales, but there are still concerns that additional monetary easing may be necessary to keep economic growth on track.

Traders in the yuan, and across the broader financial markets, are also nervously watching Sino-U.S. ties as President Donald Trump’s wide-ranging diplomatic dispute with China shows no signs of abating.

“There could be a short-term bounce in the dollar, especially against the euro,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior foreign exchange strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“In the long term, the dollar will resume its decline because the Fed has to commit to aggressive easing for an very long time.”

Against the euro EUR=D3, the dollar held steady at $1.1804, clinging onto gains made late last week.

The British pound GBP=D3 bought $1.3101 and traded at 90.11 pence per euro EURGBP=D3.

The greenback fetched 0.9116 Swiss franc CHF=D3, holding onto a 0.5% gain from Friday.

The dollar was little changed at 105.84 yen JPY=D3, which showed no reaction to a domestic media report that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit hospital on Monday amid speculation about his health.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will discuss monetary policy on Thursday at the opening day of the Kansas City Fed’s annual symposium.

This year the meeting will be held online, and not at the hunting and fishing resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The quantitative easing that the Fed has deployed so far has flooded financial markets with excess liquidity and weighed on the dollar.

Last week the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies fell to the lowest in more than two years. It was last trading at 93.197, little changed from Friday.

The world’s policymakers have unleashed an unprecedented wave of monetary easing and fiscal support to offset the economic drag caused by the pandemic.

However, many countries are now battling a second wave of infections, which could further delay a full-fledged economic recovery.

Net short positions in the dollar declined from a more than nine-year high hit a week earlier, according to calculations by Reuters and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday, which suggests that the greenback’s declines could start to slow.

The speculative community has been short the U.S dollar since mid-March.

Elsewhere in currencies, the Australian dollar AUD=D3 was little changed at $0.7161, while the New Zealand dollar NZD=D3 traded at $0.6539.

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