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Dollar gains vs most major currencies as Fed meeting looms this week

  • German Ifo data short of expectations.
  • Focus on Fed meeting ending Wednesday.
  • Bitcoin reclaims $50,000 bar.
  • Turkish lira recovers from steep losses.
Published April 26, 2021
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NEW YORK: The dollar rose from an eight-week low against the euro on Monday, also gaining against major currencies such as the yen and Swiss franc, with investors consolidating positions ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting this week.

The dollar has fallen nearly 3% since late March as US Treasury yields, which had risen this year and supported the greenback, traded in narrow ranges.

"We're seeing traders square up ahead of the Fed meeting. The dollar has been under pressure the last couple of weeks. So you're seeing more of a sideways market into the FOMC," said Edward Moya, senior market strategist, at online FX trading platform OANDA.

The Federal Open Market Committee ends its two-day meeting on Wednesday, and while no major policy changes are expected, investors will pay close attention to comments from Chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell is likely to face questions over whether an improving labor market and rising coronavirus vaccinations warrant a withdrawal of monetary easing. Most analysts though expect him to say such talk is premature, which could put downward pressure on Treasury yields and the dollar.

OANDA's Moya said that while the Fed could stay the course this week, it could be a different story at the June meeting given robust vaccine distribution and the optimism surrounding it.

"That will complicate the outlook for the dollar," Moya said. "The thought initially was that the Fed is going to hold off, but it could move to taper in the fourth quarter. A lot of that could derail the dollar view that its day of reckoning is here."

In midmorning trading, the euro fell 0.3% against the dollar to $1.2065 after disappointing euro zone data.

German business morale improved by less than expected in April as a third wave of COVID-19 infections and problems with supply of components in the industrial sector seemed to slow the recovery in Europe's largest economy.

Analysts however kept focusing on the general direction of travel of the economy, seen firmly on its way out of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Notwithstanding the slight disappointment in today's figures, the April Ifo results combine with other closely-watched surveys for the eurozone signalling momentum improvement at the start of Q2," commented economist Ricardo Amaro at Oxford Economics.

The dollar index was up slightly at 91.914, recovering from an eight-week low.

Against the yen, the dollar was up 0.1% at 107.96.

The dollar also gained 0.2% versus the Swiss franc to 0.9151 franc.

In emerging markets, the Turkish lira weakened to as much as 8.48 versus the dollar, close to its record low of 8.58 reached in early November. The dollar though was last down 1.5% at 8.2950.

The lira is among the worst performers in emerging markets this year due to worsening relations with the United States and worries about a dovish central bank governor

In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin reclaimed the $50,000 mark, jumping 10% and on course to snap five straight days of losses exacerbated by US President Joe Biden's plan to raise capital gains taxes for wealthy investors.

It was last up 9.5% at $53,770.


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