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Markets

Dollar headed for weekly loss amid election, stimulus uncertainty

  • Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden squared off on Friday in a less raucous debate than their previous meeting.
  • It was certainly more productive than the first one, but I don't think there was any meaningful shakeup in the outlook for the election.
23 Oct 2020

NEW YORK: The dollar eased against a basket of major currencies on Friday following the final US presidential debate, with fading prospects for a coronavirus relief package before the Nov. 3 elections pulling the greenback toward a weekly decline.

Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden squared off on Friday in a less raucous debate than their previous meeting, but tensions were still high, with a focus on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and plenty of personal attacks thrown into the mix.

"It was certainly more productive than the first one, but I don't think there was any meaningful shakeup in the outlook for the election," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

The market is looking at a potential Biden victory as setting the stage for a more robust post-election rescue package, which is reducing the demand for the safe-haven greenback, he added.

The dollar index was last down 0.13%, bringing it nearly 1% lower for the week.

Given the potential risk of a contested election result, the dollar is likely to be confined to the range it has been in for the last several weeks, Manimbo said.

In Europe, business surveys in France and Germany showed the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the euro zone's two biggest economies, threatening to derail the bloc's nascent recovery.

Despite the data, the euro edged higher 0.2% against the greenback to $1.1844.

"The PMIs weren't good, but they weren't as bad as expected, and that's the important point," said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss Group.

"Furthermore, stock prices are being boosted by some good earnings reports from Daimler, Barclays and others, and that's encouraging a 'risk-on' mood in FX too," he added.

The euro also firmed after Reuters reported that France was laying the groundwork for a fisheries compromise to help the European Union strike a Brexit deal with Britain.

Sterling also gained on the report, before easing back to 1.3065, down 0.12% against the dollar.

The safe-haven yen dipped 0.15% to 104.76 per dollar following comments on Thursday by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi that stimulus talks had made progress.

The Chinese yuan ticked down 0.11% against the dollar after an official at China's foreign exchange regulator said it has been more stable than expected, suggesting authorities are not too worried about its recent rise.

The yuan has gained about 7.5% since the end of May as China led the global coronavirus recovery.