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.
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.
Bitcoin 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.