By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar fell to a more than one-week low against major currencies on Monday in generally thin trading, as investors continued to price in interest rate cuts this year by the Federal Reserve after a widely expected rate increase at next week’s policy meeting.
The Japanese currency, on the other hand, also struggled amid remarks from new Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda about the need to maintain monetary easing ahead of a closely watched Bank of Japan meeting on Friday.
Aside from the Fed, the European Central Bank also meets next week and is also expected to lift rates by 25 basis points (bps), with the possibility of a 50-bps hike as well. Euro zone inflation and growth data are also due later this week.
In afternoon trading, the fell 0.3% to 101.34 after earlier dropping to a 10-day low.
“The dollar is struggling to build on last week’s gain as coming data could show slower U.S. growth and lower inflation, outcomes that would cement the case for a mid-year rate pause,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Convera in Washington.
Fed policymakers are widely expected to raise rates by another 25 bps at next week’s meeting, but they are seen pausing in June. The rate futures market has also factored in roughly 50 bps of rate cuts by the end of the year.
The euro was up 0.5% against the dollar at $1.1045, hitting a 10-day high of $1.1050. It was back above $1.10 for the first time since it hit a 14-month high of $1.10755 earlier this month.
Against the yen, the euro hit its highest since December 2014. It was last up 0.6% at 148.33 yen.
The dollar also rose versus the Japanese currency, and was last up 0.1% at 134.275 yen.
“The dollar is trading … well within well-worn ranges,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex in New York.
“It’s the calm before the storm. Next week we have the ECB and the Fed meetings, as well as the U.S. jobs data. I would be surprised if people take big bets this far away from those events.”
German business morale rose slightly in April, a survey showed on Monday, as Europe’s largest economy hopes to have dodged a winter recession. There were likewise hawkish remarks from Belgian central bank chief and ECB policy maker Pierre Wunsch.
Beyond the excitement of the euro/yen cross, currency markets were quiet, as traders waited for key central bank meetings, the first of which is the BOJ on Friday, the first Ueda will chair.
Ueda is widely expected to maintain the BOJ’s current ultra-easy yield curve control (YCC) policy, having reassured markets since succeeding Haruhiko Kuroda early this month that any change in policy won’t happen quickly.
Both the Fed and the ECB will meet next week. But before that, market participants will pore over U.S. first quarter GDP and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data, looking for signs of economic strain and evidence of sticky inflation for clues on the Fed’s policy path.
The Swedish central bank also meets this week, on Wednesday, though Barclays (LON:) said a priced-in 50 basis points hike from the Riksbank was unlikely to help the crown much beyond limiting its downside.
The dollar last traded at 10.249 crowns, up 0.1%.
Elsewhere, the Swiss franc firmed, pushing the dollar 0.5% lower to 0.8879 francs.
Currency bid prices at 3:03PM (1903 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 101.3400 101.6800 -0.33% -2.077% +101.9100 +101.3300
Euro/Dollar $1.1046 $1.0989 +0.53% +3.10% +$1.1050 +$1.0966
Dollar/Yen 134.2800 134.1250 +0.13% +2.43% +134.7250 +133.8850
Euro/Yen 148.33 147.40 +0.63% +5.72% +148.4700 +147.1300
Dollar/Swiss 0.8879 0.8924 -0.50% -3.97% +0.8928 +0.8877
Sterling/Dollar $1.2483 $1.2445 +0.32% +3.23% +$1.2485 +$1.2414
Dollar/Canadian 1.3539 1.3539 +0.00% -0.07% +1.3567 +1.3524
Aussie/Dollar $0.6694 $0.6694 +0.01% -1.79% +$0.6699 +$0.6666
Euro/Swiss 0.9808 0.9802 +0.06% -0.88% +0.9810 +0.9780
Euro/Sterling 0.8847 0.8836 +0.12% +0.03% +0.8859 +0.8826
NZ $0.6166 $0.6139 +0.43% -2.90% +$0.6167 +$0.6125
Dollar/Norway 10.5400 10.5960 -0.51% +7.42% +10.6480 +10.5420
Euro/Norway 11.6382 11.6115 +0.23% +10.95% +11.6796 +11.6280
Dollar/Sweden 10.2498 10.2880 +0.14% -1.52% +10.3318 +10.2500
Euro/Sweden 11.3169 11.3008 +0.14% +1.50% +11.3407 +11.3040
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