US dollar gains broadly as risk sentiment turns sour after poor Chinese data
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Samuel Indyk
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar firmed across the board on Tuesday, garnering safe-haven bids, after a disappointing set of Chinese trade figures hurt the yuan and the Australian and New Zealand currencies, with European risk-sensitive currencies also sliding on the worsening global outlook.
The dollar index rose 0.6% to 102.69, moving further away from Friday’s one-week low in the wake of a mixed U.S. jobs report, which pointed to a cooling but still resilient labour market. The greenback was on track for its best daily gain in about two weeks.
China’s imports and exports fell much faster than expected in July, data on Tuesday showed, with imports down 12.4% from a year earlier while exports contracted by 14.5%, in another sign of the country’s faltering economic recovery and subdued global demand.
“There’s an element of risk aversion. Pretty clearly, the data overnight was not so good, with very sluggish export data across Asia,” said Brad Bechtel, global head of foreign exchange, at Jefferies in New York.
“We’re definitely at a place in the dollar smile where U.S. fundamentals are outperforming the rest of the world. And generally it’s an environment for the dollar to sustain its rally,” he added.
The offshore yuan fell to a five-week low of 7.2514 per dollar, and was last down 0.6% at 7.246. Its onshore counterpart hit a three-week low of 7.2225 per dollar.
The Aussie, a proxy for risk-sensitive currencies that is directly impacted by the yuan, weakened to US$0.6497 against the U.S. currency, its lowest since June 1. It last traded down 0.9% at US$0.6510. The New Zealand dollar dropped to US$0.6035, its weakest level in two months and was last down 1% at US$0.6041.
While currency moves had been minimal early in the Asian day, the greenback extended its gains in Europe and North America, as risk sentiment turned fragile and Wall Street shares sold off.
In other currencies, sterling fell 0.5% to $1.2718, after a survey showed British retailers in July logged their slowest sales growth in 11 months.
The euro dropped 0.5% to $1.0949, while the risk-sensitive Swedish and Norwegian crowns both tumbled against the dollar.
“Both SEK and NOK have had some good sessions, when they were supported by positive risk sentiment, but are for the opposite reason slightly on the defensive,” said Jens NÃ¦rvig Pedersen, director at Danske Bank.
The U.S. dollar rose 0.4% to 143.095 yen.
Data on Tuesday showed that Japanese real wages fell for a 15th straight month in June on relentless price hikes, but nominal pay growth remained robust amid rising salaries for high-income workers and a broadening labour crunch.
All eyes are now on Thursday’s U.S. inflation data, where expectations are for core consumer prices in the United States to have risen 4.8% on an annual basis in July.
China will report July inflation as well on Wednesday, with traders on the lookout for further signs of deflation.
Currency bid prices at 10:52AM (1452 GMT)
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Dollar index 102.6400 102.0800 +0.56% -0.821% +102.8000 +102.0700
Euro/Dollar $1.0946 $1.1003 -0.52% +2.16% +$1.1012 +$1.0930
Dollar/Yen 143.0950 142.4600 +0.45% +9.15% +143.4300 +142.4200
Euro/Yen 156.63 156.75 -0.08% +11.65% +157.7400 +156.3600
Dollar/Swiss 0.8760 0.8729 +0.39% -5.23% +0.8782 +0.8721
Sterling/Dollar $1.2719 $1.2785 -0.52% +5.17% +$1.2785 +$1.2685
Dollar/Canadian 1.3475 1.3370 +0.79% -0.54% +1.3502 +1.3369
Aussie/Dollar $0.6511 $0.6574 -0.95% -4.47% +$0.6576 +$0.6497
Euro/Swiss 0.9587 0.9603 -0.17% -3.09% +0.9609 +0.9588
Euro/Sterling 0.8604 0.8602 +0.02% -2.70% +0.8625 +0.8604
NZ $0.6046 $0.6107 -1.01% -4.79% +$0.6110 +$0.6035
Dollar/Norway 10.3070 10.1520 +1.80% +5.31% +10.3410 +10.1670
Euro/Norway 11.2860 11.1631 +1.10% +7.53% +11.3165 +11.1588
Dollar/Sweden 10.7255 10.5738 +0.89% +3.06% +10.7535 +10.5753
Euro/Sweden 11.7423 11.6382 +0.89% +5.31% +11.7637 +11.6350
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Samuel Indyk in London; Additional reporting by Rae Wee in Singapore; Editing by Gareth Jones, Jason Neely and Sharon Singleton)