Dollar posts largest weekly gain in one month as oil slumps

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The dollar rose on Friday, posting its biggest weekly percentage increase in a month, as risk appetite declined and investors sought the currency’s safety following a steep drop in oil prices that suggested global growth is slowing.
The safe-haven yen and Swiss franc also advanced.

The drop in oil prices fuelled a risk-off wave across the board. U.S. crude futures were last down nearly 8 percent on the day.

“Risk aversion has been the main driver all week, with oil prices driving market sentiment,” said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.
“The dollar is better overall for the week because of the risk-off stance, despite a fairly significant pricing out of 2019 rate hike expectations,” he added.

In afternoon trading, the dollar index was up 0.3 percent at 96.959. It has gained in five of the last six sessions.

The dollar’s near-term outlook, however, has dimmed a little bit as some of the recent U.S. economic numbers have come in weaker than expected and several Federal Reserve officials have struck a cautious tone on the economy. All told, investors increasingly believe the Fed may be nearing the end of its tightening cycle.

That said, Jane Foley, senior FX strategist at Rabobank in London, believes the dollar will still find decent support as investors are likely to remain cautious on emerging market assets.

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“The huge liquidity associated with the greenback, the fact that there is no real default risk on U.S. Treasuries, and the credibility of the U.S. legal system are enough to endow the U.S. dollar with sufficient safe-haven appeal for many investors,” Foley added.

The euro, on the other, fell to a one-week low on signs economic growth could be slowing across the euro zone, with worries about Brexit and Italy’s budget negotiations also weighing on the single currency.

Business growth in the euro zone slowed much more quickly than expected this month, a Purchasing Managers Index survey showed. After German private-sector growth slowed to its lowest level in nearly four years, the euro dropped into negative territory and was last down 0.7 percent at $1.1329 .

In other currency trading, the yen rose broadly on fears about the implications of lower oil prices on global growth.

The dollar slipped 0.1 percent against the yen to 112.86 yen, while the euro tumbled 0.7 percent to 127.86 yen.

Oil prices plunge as production surges
The Australian dollar, often considered a gauge for global risk appetite, weakened 0.4 percent to U$0.7225.

Analysts expect the Aussie to remain subdued ahead of a meeting between U.S. and Chinese leaders at a G20 meeting in Argentina at the end of the month, with markets watching for any sign of whether they may agree to de-escalate their trade war.

Dollar bulls wary after biggest weekly drop in two months

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The dollar steadied on Monday after posting its biggest weekly drop in two months last week as investors grew cautious about the near term outlook for the greenback after dovish comments by U.S. policymakers.

Against a basket of its rivals, the greenback was broadly steady at 96.48 after falling nearly half a percent last week, its biggest weekly drop since late September.

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The dollar has been the surprise winner of 2018, having risen nearly 10 percent from April lows thanks to a combination of interest rate hikes and strong data. But the growing view that U.S. economic growth may have peaked has begun to eat away at these gains.

“Dovish Fed comments on Friday gave some encouragement to investors to take profits on dollar positions which have risen in recent weeks,” said Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank based in London.

Richard Clarida, the Fed’s newly appointed vice chair, cautioned about a slowdown in global growth, saying “that’s something that is going to be relevant” for the outlook for the U.S. economy.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan, in a separate interview with Fox Business, also said he is seeing a growth slowdown in Europe and China.

Their comments come at a time when long dollar positions have swelled to their biggest levels in nearly two years despite a modest decline last week, according to futures data.

Latest U.S. Treasury holdings data also weighed on the dollar. China and Japan, the two biggest foreign U.S. creditors, cut their U.S. Treasury holdings further in September as foreign appetite for Treasuries declined.

Despite the dollar’s weakness, the euro failed to rally significantly above the $1.14 levels as concerns over negotiations between Brussels and Rome over Italy’s budget plans sapped broader appetite. It was changing hands at $1.1422.

Elsewhere, sterling remained in the spotlight with the currency expected to remain under pressure until the market gets more clarity on the progress of the Brexit deal.

It was 0.2 percent firmer against the dollar at $1.2864 after a 1 percent drop last week as British Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft EU divorce deal has met with stiff opposition with several ministers resigning.

bit coinBitcoin sinks to new 13-month low

LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin slumped to a new 13-month low on Monday, with the biggest cryptocurrency touching $5173.23 on the Bitstamp platform BTC=BTSP.

Bitcoin was last down 5.2 percent at $5270. The cryptocurrency, and other lesser coins including ethereum and XRP, endured a sell-off last week, with some blaming fears that a “hard fork” in bitcoin cash, where the smaller coin that split into two separate currencies, could destabilize others.