By Herbert Lash and Ritvik Carvalho
NEWYORK/LONDON -The dollar was little changed on Wednesday as oil prices slowed after a big two-day advance, U.S. Treasury yields moved higher and investors awaited clues on the tapering of economic support by the Federal Reserve at this week’s Jackson Hole symposium.
Risk appetite in global markets improved after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech, in a move that could accelerate U.S. inoculations.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday the United States could get COVID-19 under control by early next year.
But the focus has turned to Jackson Hole and what Fed Chair Jerome Powell may say about tapering the U.S. central bank’s stimulative bond-buying program when he speaks on Friday.
Markets expect Powell to sound dovish and echo concerns last week by Robert Kaplan, the Dallas Fed president, who said he might reconsider the start to tapering due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.
“The risk is that Powell does not really say anything too different but by virtue of not backing up Kaplan, comes across as more hawkish,” Osborne said.
The dollar picked up support as Treasury yields nudged higher, he said. The benchmark 10-year Treasury later rose 5.7 basis points to yield 1.3474%. Algorithmic traders selling Treasuries after the 10-year yields broke above their daily 200-day moving average may have exacerbated the gains.
The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of six major trading currencies, was higher in early trading, then eased 0.06% to 92.8550.
The euro gained 0.09% at $1.1766, while the yen fell 0.32% at $110.025.
The greenback had rallied until the start of this week, with the dollar index hitting a 9-1/2-month high of 93.734 on Friday, on fears over the Delta variant’s economic impact and as the Fed signaled its tapering of monetary stimulus was likely this year.
Vasileios Gkionakis, global head of FX strategy at Lombard Odier Group, said there’s been skittishness over growth and sector rotations, which has boosted the dollar because of its safe-haven status.
“In the short term, we’re still going to be trading in ranges, with upside bias,” Gkionakis said.
Dollar underperformance after Jackson Hole could be a buying opportunity ahead of the release of U.S. data next week, including the non-farm payrolls report for August, said Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole.
“Potential positive surprises from the NFP in particular could put QE (quantitative easing) taper back among the main FX market drivers and support the USD,” Marinov said.
Sterling rose 0.22% to $1.3758 while Australia’s dollar recouped early losses to trade up 0.25% to $0.7276.
The dollar gained 0.08% to 1.2599 against the Canadian dollar. Earlier the dollar was stronger as commodity prices, and especially crude oil, had moderated. But oil later surged.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose $1.20, or 1.7%, to $72.25 a barrel after gaining 9% on Monday and Tuesday from last week’s close.
The Canadian currency still looks fundamentally undervalued but the case for a significant rebound after recent volatility has weakened, Osborne said. The narrowing of U.S.-Canadian spreads will make it harder for the Canadian dollar to strengthen materially for now, he said.
“Generally, we expect the U.S. dollar to grind higher in the next few weeks and months,” he said.
Currency bid prices at 3:34PM (1934 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 92.8550 92.9130 -0.06% 3.194% +93.1350 +92.8090
Euro/Dollar $1.1766 $1.1757 +0.09% -3.69% +$1.1775 +$1.1726
Dollar/Yen 110.0250 109.6800 +0.32% +6.49% +110.1200 +109.6650
Euro/Yen 129.46 128.93 +0.41% +2.00% +129.5200 +128.7700
Dollar/Swiss 0.9139 0.9129 +0.12% +3.31% +0.9157 +0.9127
Sterling/Dollar $1.3758 $1.3729 +0.22% +0.71% +$1.3766 +$1.3699
Dollar/Canadian 1.2599 1.2589 +0.08% -1.06% +1.2643 +1.2589
Aussie/Dollar $0.7276 $0.7259 +0.25% -5.40% +$0.7280 +$0.7238
Euro/Swiss 1.0754 1.0731 +0.21% -0.49% +1.0755 +1.0724
Euro/Sterling 0.8552 0.8559 -0.08% -4.31% +0.8569 +0.8551
NZ $0.6980 $0.6954 +0.40% -2.79% +$0.6983 +$0.6930
Dollar/Norway 8.8030 8.8335 -0.40% +2.46% +8.8610 +8.7980
Euro/Norway 10.3601 10.3697 -0.09% -1.02% +10.4060 +10.3509
Dollar/Sweden 8.6877 8.6940 +0.09% +5.99% +8.7215 +8.6789
Euro/Sweden 10.2222 10.2135 +0.09% +1.45% +10.2365 +10.1996