U.S. dollar slumps as equity markets rally; Fed in focus

Saudi riyal, yuan, Turkish lira, pound, U.S. dollar, euro and Jordanian dinar banknotes are seen in this illustration
FILE PHOTO: Saudi riyal, yuan, Turkish lira, pound, U.S. dollar, euro and Jordanian dinar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

September 14, 2020

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar slipped on Monday against its major peers, dropping to a two-week low versus the yen, as positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine and a wave of merger and acquisition deals lifted the mood in global equity markets.

Investors also looked ahead to an event-packed week which includes a Federal Reserve meeting and the appointment of a new Japanese premier.

U.S. stocks rose on Monday on signs of progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and a flurry of multibillion-dollar deals, including reports of Oracle <ORCL.N> winning the battle for the U.S. arm of TikTok. <.N>

“As equities trade more positively at the start of the new week, the dollar is trading weaker again. The market is still showing that it is likely to fade any dollar strength,” said Vassili Serebriakov, FX strategist at UBS in New York.

Global equities got a lift after drugmaker AstraZeneca <AZN.L> resumed its British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development.

“As long as the market perceives that the market is moving in the right direction with the vaccine, the dollar will weaken more as a cyclical play,” Serebriakov added.

In morning trading, the dollar index fell 0.4% to 92.919 <=USD>, after posting two straight weeks of gains.

This week’s Fed Reserve meeting will be its first since Chairman Jerome Powell unveiled a policy shift toward greater tolerance of inflation, effectively pledging to keep interest rates low for longer.

“There will be pressure on the Fed to back up the new policy goals with some action,” said MUFG strategist Lee Hardman, noting that inflation remained well below target.

“Expectations are they could strengthen forward guidance, possibly by saying rates will be on hold for 3-4 years,” said Hardman, who remains bearish on the greenback.

Analysts at Standard Chartered said there was a risk the Fed would disappoint dollar bears.

Speculators trimmed net short dollar positions for the second straight week to $32.67 billion, according to Reuters calculations and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. That’s off nine-year highs of $33.68 billion in late August.

The dollar fell 0.5% against the yen to 105.66 yen <JPY=EBS>, after earlier sliding to a two-week low.

The Bank of Japan’s meeting on Thursday is not expected to yield any policy changes but the bank may be quizzed on whether it could follow the Fed’s inflation stance.

On the political front, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was picked to head Japan’s ruling party on Monday, meaning on Wednesday in parliament he is set to be selected by his peers as prime minister, taking over from Shinzo Abe.

Suga has vowed to continue Abe’s policies.

The euro was up 0.3% versus the dollar at $1.1880 <EUR=EBS>.

The single currency had spiked to a one-week high above $1.191 after Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting, before easing back as policymakers talked it down the next day.


Currency bid prices at 10:10AM (1410 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change


Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1879 $1.1845 +0.29% +5.97% +1.1887 +1.1831

Dollar/Yen JPY= 105.6400 106.1400 -0.47% -2.96% +106.1900 +105.6400

Euro/Yen EURJPY= 125.51 125.75 -0.19% +2.92% +125.9000 +125.5300

Dollar/Swiss CHF= 0.9059 0.9086 -0.30% -6.40% +0.9098 +0.9060

Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.2901 1.2793 +0.84% -2.70% +1.2918 +1.2778

Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3169 1.3174 -0.04% +1.41% +1.3196 +1.3154

Australian/Doll AUD= 0.7294 0.7283 +0.15% +3.89% +0.7295 +0.7265


Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.0763 1.0764 -0.01% -0.82% +1.0775 +1.0761

Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.9206 0.9254 -0.52% +8.90% +0.9263 +0.9202

NZ NZD= 0.6707 0.6664 +0.65% -0.43% +0.6714 +0.6660


Dollar/Norway NOK= 8.9874 9.0336 -0.51% +2.38% +9.0531 +8.9861

Euro/Norway EURNOK= 10.6787 10.7024 -0.22% +8.55% +10.7121 +10.6716

Dollar/Sweden SEK= 8.7595 8.7687 +0.17% -6.29% +8.7881 +8.7539

Euro/Sweden EURSEK= 10.4090 10.3916 +0.17% -0.58% +10.4210 +10.3756

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Sujata Rao and Ritvik Carvalho in London; editing by Jonathan Oatis)