Dollar Stabilizes Post-Powell, Chinese Yuan on Watch After PBOC Support
The dollar stabilized on Monday after remarks from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell last week sent the greenback lower, while the Chinese yuan moved higher after the People’s Bank of China stepped in to support the currency.
At 5:18 AM ET (9:189 GMT), the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, inched up 0.05% to 95.13, after falling 0.54% on Friday.
The dollar’s decline at the end of last week came as Powell conditioned the Fed’s gradual interest rate increases to a continued strong performance of the U.S. economy and labor market, toning down fears that the U.S. central bank was considering a more aggressive stance on monetary policy.
“As the most recent FOMC statement indicates, if the strong growth in income and jobs continues, further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will likely be appropriate,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan gave up earlier gains seen on Monday as the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) stepped in to support the currency by re-introducing a counter-cyclical factor to its daily fixing mechanism, lifting its official yuan midpoint more than expected to 6.8508 per dollar.
Monday's official yuan midpoint was 202 pips, or 0.3%, firmer than the previous fix of 6.8710 on Friday.
The PBOC said on Friday that banks would resume using the “counter-cyclical” factor when calculating the yuan’s daily reference rate to support the currency amid broad dollar strength and ongoing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
China had suspended use of the factor in January, when regulators became more comfortable with the yuan’s strength after several months of gains against the dollar.
The Turkish lira was also back in focus as traders returned from the long Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha last week. USD/TRY jumped 2.63% to 6.1603 as markets continued to center their attention on President Tayyip Erdogan's grip on monetary policy and the standoff with Washington over the fate of pastor Andrew Brunson, under house arrest in Turkey on terrorism charges that he denies.
In his first comments on the currency crisis since before the holiday, Erdogan said on Saturday the commitment and determination of Turks was the guarantee needed to combat attacks on Turkey's economy.
Other currency pairs with the dollar were seeing little movement on Monday. EUR/USD was off just 0.08% at 1.1613. Some observers attributed the modest decline to the euro zone’s exposure to Turkey.
In a light day for economic data, German business morale rose for time this year, improving more than expected and limiting losses in the single currency. "In addition to a robust domestic economic situation, the truce in the trade conflict with the U.S. contributed to improved business confidence," Ifo chief Clemens Fuest said.
GBP/USD slipped 0.08% to 1.2838, with London traders absent due to bank holiday in the UK.
In other Forex trade, USD/JPY dipped 0.07% to 111.18, USD/CAD inched up 0.02% to 1.3029, while USD/CHF edged down 0.02% to 0.9833.