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Dollar up on JPY, EUR In Early Asia As Mnuchin Event Ahead Eyed

1/25/2018, 9:49:12 AMMarket Analysis
Dollar up on JPY, EUR In Early Asia As Mnuchin Event Ahead Eyed

The dollar gained against the yen and euro in early Asia on Thursday with a day ahead of policymaker statements expected to whipsaw currency markets starting in Europe.

USD/JPY rose 0.08% to 109.31, while AUD/USD fell 0.15% to 0.8048. EUR/USD was down 0.15% to 1.2391 ahead of the ECB meeting when many expect the central bank to keep rates unchanged but focus will likely be on ECB president Mario Draghi press conference and a timeframe for a return to normalization in policy.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was last quoted down 0.96% to 89.020.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will have the chance Thursday to offer any clarification on a change from a long-standing strong dollar policy as part of a panel at 11 a.m. CET at Davos that includes IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

But also in Davos, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross later chimed in saying the US is not abandoning its strong dollar policy.

NZD/USD traded 0.7341, up 0.08% after fourth quarter CPI came in at a gain of 0.1% on quarter, well below the 0.4% pace seen and at a 1.6% annually, missing a 1.9% gain expected.

Overnight, the dollar extended its retreat against a basket of major currencies as Mnuchin’s endorsement of a low dollar attracted heavy selling pressure in the greenback.

“Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities," Mnuchin told reporters in Davos, according to Bloomberg.

Also adding to the dollar weakness, was a modest uptick in safe-haven demand amid growing fears of a US-China trade war after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed that China’s tech ambitions under its 2025 were a “direct threat” that is being implemented “by disrespect for intellectual property rights” among other “very bad things.”

GBP/USD rose as the pair eyes a test of pre-Brexit vote levels around $1.5. The sharp uptick in the pound came as investors cheered bullish employment data including a uptick in wage growth, which stoked expectations for a faster pace of inflation, raising the prospect of an interest rate hike. GBP/USD was quoted at 1.4221 on Thursday, down 0.14%