Dollar index near 13-month low as U.S. political turmoil weighs, euro buoyant
The dollar struggled near a 13-month low against a basket of major currencies on Monday as U.S. political turmoil dampened hopes for quick passage of President Donald Trump's stimulus and tax reform agendas and the euro extended gains.
The Trump administration, already dogged by investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election, took a fresh hit on Friday after White House spokesman Sean Spicer resigned, highlighting the upheaval within the president's inner circle.
"For any chance of the dollar bouncing back in the near term, it will need a rebound in U.S. yields," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior forex strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.
"The current U.S. political situation is weighing heavily on U.S. yields. So we will need strong U.S. data to dislodge U.S. yields from their low levels," he said.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield (US10YT=RR) hit a three-week low on Friday, as a retreat on Wall Street kindled safe-haven demand for debt.
The euro was steady at $1.1668
The common currency's advance was limited after euro zone yields fell across the board on Friday, with the strong currency prompting investors to question the timing of the ECB's planned stimulus withdrawal. [GVD/EUR]
The euro has been on strong footing this month after what the markets perceived as hawkish talk from ECB President Mario Draghi reinforced views that the central bank would begin moving away from its easy policy sooner rather than later. Neither did he express any concern at the currency's strength.
The dollar slipped 0.15 percent to 110.970 yen
Speculators' bets on the U.S. dollar swung to a net short for the first time in more than a year, according to calculations by Reuters and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
According to the same data, Japanese yen net shorts grew to their largest since January 2014.
Koji Fukaya, president at FPG Securities in Tokyo, said the high level of yen shorts probably reflected yen trades versus non-dollar currencies, so called cross trades.
"A lot of the selling pressure on the yen is channeled through cross yen pairs. That is why dollar/yen has been weak despite the large net short positions built up against the yen."
The Bank of Japan has stuck to its easy monetary policy while other major central banks have signaled shifts to normalizing policy, which is why some investors have expected a weaker yen.
The Australian dollar traded at $0.7923
The Aussie had advanced on the dollar's broad weakness before its rally was tempered by dovish comments from Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) deputy governor Guy Debelle on Friday.
The New Zealand dollar fared better, staying in close reach of $0.7460