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Markets

Dollar rebound falters as Fed's Powell strikes dovish tone

  • The dollar was little changed at 103.76 yen after slipping 0.1% overnight.
Published January 15, 2021

TOKYO: The dollar's rebound from a nearly three-year low faltered after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Thursday that interest rates would not rise any time soon.

The release of details of President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus later that day failed to give the greenback additional support, with the main points of the plan already reported by the media.

Bitcoin continued to recover after a nearly $12,000 plunge from the record $42,000 reached last week, briefly topping $40,000 overnight.

The dollar index has rallied after reaching its lowest level since March 2018 last week, as the prospect of more stimulus weighed on US government bonds, sending the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield above 1% for the first time since March.

Although many analysts predict the greenback will resume the decline that saw it slide almost 7% last year versus major peers as the global economy recovers from the pandemic, there is growing concern that the rise in yields will temper that weakness.

The dollar index was little changed at 90.26 after drifting slightly lower overnight. It rebounded to as high as 90.73 at the start of this week from as low as 89.206 on Jan. 6.

Powell said in a live-streamed interview with a Princeton University professor that the economy remains far from where the Fed wants it to be, and that he sees no reason to alter its highly accommodative stance "until the job is well and truly done."

The central bank's asset-buying program has weighed on the dollar as it increases supply of the currency, diminishing its value.

"Shorter term, Powell just put a lid on the US dollar," said Westpac currency analyst Sean Callow.

"The baseline case is still for a substantial acceleration in the global economy, which historically has proven to be positive for most currencies against the US dollar, but I think there is potential to at least have a debate over whether the US dollar will be quite as weak as people expect."

The dollar was little changed at 103.76 yen after slipping 0.1% overnight.

The euro eased 0.1% to $1.21465, on track for a three-day decline.

The riskier Aussie dollar slid 0.1% to 77.650 US cents, tempering the previous session's 0.6% rise.

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