Dollar rises after U.S. data, but posts largest monthly fall since December

A U.S. Dollar banknote
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Dollar banknote is seen in this illustration taken May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

April 30, 2021

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar rose on Friday, extending gains after upbeat data on personal income, spending, and manufacturing in the U.S. Midwest, with market participants also taking profits on the currency’s short dollar positions this month.

The dollar index was down 2.1% for the month of April, its largest monthly loss since December.

Next week’s U.S. data, which includes non-farm payrolls for April and key U.S. manufacturing and services indexes, should reinforce expectations of a strong recovery from the pandemic by the world’s largest economy.

“Another round of potentially strong data in the U.S. may add pressure to start discussing tapering,” said ING in its latest research note.

“With some possible fresh weakness in Treasuries on the way, the U.S. dollar might find some respite against the low-yielders,” the bank added.

After the Fed’s policy meeting on Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the U.S. economy’s growth, but said there was not enough evidence of “substantial further progress” toward recovery to warrant a change to its ultra-loose monetary settings.

Friday’s data showing a 4.2% rebound in U.S. consumer spending in March, amid a 21.1% surge in income as households received additional COVID-19 relief money from the government, supported the dollar. That led to a 0.4% rise in the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, compared with a gain of 0.3% the previous month.

“Powell remained firm on the Fed’s interest rate path and QE (quantitative easing) program on Wednesday, leaving traders with the uncomfortable feeling inflation could run away – and run away quickly,” Adam Corbett, currency analyst, at Cambridge Global Payments, said in a research note after the data.

Similarly, the dollar also gained after the Chicago Purchasing Management Index (PMI) showed a reading for April of 72.1, the highest in almost four decades.

In afternoon trading, the dollar index ended the week up 0.5%. It was last up 0.7% at 91.263, the largest daily gain since late February.

“The current strength in the dollar is likely a pivot to the seasonal trend that we tend to see in May and June,” said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities in New York, after the greenback’s underperformance this month. He added that April is typically one of the weaker months for the dollar.

Graphic: Dollar heads for fourth weekly loss – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xegvbxrqovq/DXY.png

The Canadian dollar climbed to a more-than three-year high of C$1.2266 per greenback on Friday, on track for a 1.6% weekly gain that would be its biggest since early November. The U.S. dollar was last flat at C$1.2276.

In contrast to the Fed’s dovishness, the Bank of Canada has already begun to taper its asset purchases. Canada’s commodity-linked loonie got additional support from a surge in oil to a six-week peak, along with higher lumber prices.

The euro traded 0.8% lower at $1.2025, posting its largest daily percentage fall since late February. But it was up 2.5% for the month versus the dollar, its best monthly showing since July 2020.

The dollar also rose against the yen, up 0.3% at 109.29 <JPY=EBS>, rising 1% for the week. But it was down 1.3% for the month, its worst monthly showing since July 2020 as well.

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, Editing by Hugh Lawson, Mark Heinrich and Chizu Nomiyama)