Dollar Continues To Slump, Sinks To 10-Month Lows

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The U.S. dollar continues to slump as it sank to 10-month lows against the other major currencies on Tuesday, after an attempt to pass healthcare reform collapsed and amid a sell-off ignited by another setback to U.S. President Donald Trump’s agenda and doubts over prospects for another rate hike this year.

Greenback Sinks Against Major Currencies

The U.S. dollar index against a group of six major currencies was 0.64% lower at 94.31, the lowest trough since September 9, 2016.

The dollar was at almost three-week lows, weaker against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.55% to 112.00, after falling as low as 111.99 overnight.

The euro rose to fresh 14-month highs against the dollar, with EUR/USD advancing 0.86% to 1.1577, after touching overnight highs of 1.1538.

Sterling was lower, with GBP/USD down 0.26% to 1.3022 after data showing that the annual rate of inflation in Britain fell for the first time since October last month.

Healthcare Issue and Rate Hike

The dollar came under renewed selling pressure after a second attempt by Republicans to replace Obamacare collapsed late Monday, bringing a major policy blow to the Trump administration.

Around half of the cuts in healthcare spending were reserved to finance proposed tax cuts. The failure to deliver healthcare reform added to disappointment over the lack of progress on Trump’s economic agenda.

The dollar was already on the defensive side after Friday’s weak U.S. inflation and retail sales data that  added to doubts that the Fed will be able to raise interest rates again this year.

Other Currencies

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar jumped to two-year highs, with AUD/USD,  adding 1.59% to trade at 0.7926, after the minutes from the central bank’s last policy meeting showed it turning more positive on the economic outlook.

The New Zealand dollar was also higher, with NZD/USD rising 0.61% to 0.7364. The kiwi initially turned lower overnight before regaining ground after weak inflation data indicated that the country’s central bank will keep interest rates on hold for longer.

The Canadian dollar hit fresh 14-month highs, with USD/CAD last at 1.2624.

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Dollar Increases Gains Against Other Currencies

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The dollar extended gains against the other major currencies on Monday, pulling away from nine-month lows, but the greenback’s upside was expected to stay limited amid expectations for tighter monetary policy by major central banks.

The euro dropped against the dollar 0.51% to 1.1369, off Friday’s 13-month peak of 1.1448, while the sterling declined 0.47% to 1.2967, pulling away from last week’s six-week high of 1.3032.

The dollar index against a group of six major currencies was 0.50% higher at 95.86, crawling off a nine-month trough of 95.470 plumbed on Friday.

In last week’s comments, the heads of the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada embraced a more aggressive view on monetary policy, indicating that they were getting ready to join the Federal Reserve in policy tightening.

Aggressive signals from foreign central banks contrasted with doubts over whether the Fed will be able to carry out hike rates again this year given a recent batch of weak U.S. economic data and growing skepticism that the Trump administration will be able to deliver on its pro-growth agenda.

Elsewhere, the greenback rallied against the yen and swiss franc 0.55% to 113.04 and 0.50% to trade at 0.9626, respectively. Meanwhile, the aussie dollar and kiwi were weaker against the dollar, down 0.44% to 0.7656 and 0.55% to 0.7292, respectively.

The yen briefly rose after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party suffered an historic defeat in an election in Tokyo on Sunday, in a vote that could be a harbinger for national elections.

“The Tokyo election won’t have a strong market impact, in my view, as there are no opposition parties in Japan that can immediately replace the (ruling) LDP,” said Yukio Ishizuki, a senior currency strategist.

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Euro Rallies Amid Political Worries over Several European Countries

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The European currency surged back after weakening against the dollar earlier amid political worries over Greece, Italy and Britain as European geopolitical fears weakened risk appetite.

EUR/USD was up 0.20% to $1.1186 by 10:29 ET, after falling as low as 1.1108.

The single currency came under pressure in early trade as worries over Greece’s bailout, the prospect of an early Italian general election and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments about the need for continued stimulus all weighed.

James Woods, a global investment analyst in Sydney, attributed most of the currency’s decline on Tuesday, saying Athens may opt out of its next bailout payment if creditors cannot get a debt relief deal done.

“The bailout payments are necessary to meet existing debt repayments due in July, so if Greece were to forgo this bailout payment the probability of a default would spike, reopening the discussion around a Grexit from the Euro zone,” Woods said.

However, he warned against reading “too much into it” without more details or confirmation, adding it was doubtful Greece would forgo the bailout payment at this stage.

Euro zone finance ministers failed to agree with the International Monetary Fund on Greek debt relief or to release new loans to Athens last week, but did come close enough to intend to do both at their June meeting.

Comments by former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Sunday in favor of holding an election at the same time as Germany’s in September also raised uncertainty and pulled the euro lower earlier.

So did a statement by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reiterating the need for “substantial” stimulus given subdued inflation.

Meanwhile, sterling pushed higher, rising 0.3% to $1.2877, despite British Prime Minister Theresa May’s lead over the opposition Labor Party dropped to as low as 5-6 percentage points in the latest poll to show a tightening race since the Manchester bombing and a U-turn over social care plans,  which adds to political risk around Brexit as well.

Recent polls have indicated that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party has less of a lead over the Labor Party than expected.

The pound was also higher against the euro, with EUR/GBP down 0.09% at 0.8703.

Moreover, the greenback index was at 97.23, off the day’s highs of 97.67 as the firmer euro weighed up.

Last week the index plumbed lows of 96.79, its weakest level since November 9 amid uncertainties over the Trump administration.

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Commodity Currencies Inch Higher As Oil Slumps

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Currencies linked to commodity or oil-linked currencies such as the Canadian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Russian ruble and the Norwegian krone inched higher as oil prices slumped.

The Canadian dollar was last trading up 0.20% at C$1.3460 per U.S. dollar, down from a five-week high of C$1.3388 touched on Thursday. New Zealand dollar surged back 0.30% to $0.7045 after slipping 0.34% earlier. The Russian ruble and the Norwegian krone rose 0.51% and 0.17% to $0.01766 and $0.1193 respectively.

Oil Prices Slumped

Battered oil prices slumped on Friday after tumbling 5% in the previous session.

On Thursday in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers agreed to extend a deal to cut around 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the first quarter of 2018, disappointing investors who are betting on longer or larger edges.

Brent crude futures were down from their last close 1.01% to $50.94 per barrel at 8:06 AM EDT as they were still set to end Friday with a weekly loss of more than 3 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were below $50, at $48.43, slipped 47 cents and 0.96% from their last close.

Matt Simpson, a senior market analyst, wrote in a Friday note, “Oil was practically begging to be knocked off its perch after rallying into the OPEC meeting with wide expectations (for) extended cuts. As the extensions were estimated to be around nine to twelve months, OPEC needed to far exceed this time horizon for oil to sustain its rally.”

Moreover, the dollar index lost 0.12% to 97.08, some risk-off sentiment driving the yen higher, who rose to a 3-day high against the greenback 0.76% to 111.03 yen, while the euro also edged higher 0.13% to $1.1225.

Meanwhile, Sterling fell over half a percent to as low as $1.2870, a two-week low on Friday, pulling further away from a May 18 peak of $1.3048, its strongest level since September last year, after a poll showed a narrowing lead for British Prime Minister Theresa May over her opposition prior to elections next month.

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