Dollar retains upward momentum
Investors begin positioning for key events this week
The dollar extended its modest bounce from 15-month lows on Wednesday, benefiting from a pause in selling of the battered currency as investors begin positioning for key events this week, notably Friday's US employment report.
The dollar index against a basket of major currencies shook off a decline in Treasury yields and was a shade higher at 93.09 after bouncing from 92.777, its lowest since May 2016.
The euro was unchanged at US$1.1806 after being nudged away from a 30-month peak of $1.1846 set the previous day.
The greenback has been weighed down by political turmoil gripping Washington and largely uninspiring US economic data, particularly sluggish inflation, which is adding to uncertainty about the pace of future Federal Reserve policy tightening.
"The dollar has already weakened significantly, especially against its European counterpart, reaching a point where some participants began buying back the currency ahead of Friday's US employment data," said Shin Kadota, a senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.
"But these are mere position adjustments before the US jobs data and the bearish trend for the dollar still remains intact," Mr Kadota added.
The euro has gained about 12 per cent against the dollar so far this year.
In addition to the political risks and monetary policy uncertainty that have plagued its US peer, the common currency has drawn support from expectations that the European Central Bank would eventually begin phasing out its easy policy.
The US currency was 0.15 per cent higher at 110.535 yen, pulling away from a near seven-week low of 109.92 touched overnight.
"The dollar is being supported against the yen with US stocks continuing to perform strongly, despite the potential risks they are faced with," said Ayako Sera, a senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust.
The Dow racked up a fifth straight record high on Tuesday, even as Wall Street loses confidence that the US president Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress will be able to push through tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure this year.
Mr Sera also said the market is likely to take in stride a cabinet reshuffle planned on Thursday by the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who hopes to revive his flagging ratings.
"Market participants of course will be watching how the cabinet reshuffle turns out. But few, if any, expect the reshuffle to have an impact on the market," Mr Sera said.
For potential impact on the dollar, the market awaited the US ADP jobs report and comments by San Francisco Fed president John Williams and Cleveland Fed chief Loretta Mester due later in the session.
The greenback, meanwhile, managed to bounce back against dollar bloc currencies such as the New Zealand and Canadian dollars.
The New Zealand dollar dropped to a one-week low of $0.7416 and was last down 0.5 per cent at $0.7427 following lacklustre data.
The number of jobs created in New Zealand fell unexpectedly and wage inflation remaining tepid in the second quarter, adding weight to the prospect of the central bank keeping rates on hold at record lows for years.
The Canadian dollar struggled after being hit by a slide in crude oil prices.
The loonie extended its overnight drop to trade at C$1.2570 per dollar , pulled further away from a 25-month high of C$1.2414 reached last week.
The Australian dollar, another commodity-linked currency, was down 0.2 per cent at $0.7953 following its ascent the previous day to $0.8066, its strongest since May 2015.
Updated: August 2, 2017 09:07 AM