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Markets

Dollar holds near highs on trade jitters, Kiwi sinks to 4-yr low

The U.S. currency, measured against a basket of rival currencies, was little changed at 99.061 in early European tr
30 Sep 2019
  • The U.S. currency, measured against a basket of rival currencies, was little changed at 99.061 in early European trade, while against the euro it stood at $1.0945 .
  • The dollar earlier this month hit a more than 2-year high of 99.37.

LONDON: The dollar held near recent highs on Monday as uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade war encouraged investors to move into the safety of the greenback, while the New Zealand dollar slid to a 4-year low after business confidence tumbled.

Traders in Asia mostly shrugged off news that the Trump administration was considering de-listing Chinese companies from U.S. stock markets after the reports were hosed down by Treasury officials, but investor sentiment remained fragile.

Worries that negotiations between China and the United States will not lead to a trade deal, and deepening political uncertainty in the United States after the start of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, have unnerved investors and boosted demand for dollars.

The U.S. currency, measured against a basket of rival currencies, was little changed at 99.061 in early European trade, while against the euro it stood at $1.0945 .

The dollar earlier this month hit a more than 2-year high of 99.37.

"Were there better stories overseas, we suspect the dollar might be a little weaker right now, but there are not (industrial production numbers are still plumbing the depths in many countries) and thus the dollar is holding its gains," ING analysts said in a research note.

New Zealand's dollar dropped 0.6% to as low as $0.6249 , its weakest since 2015, after a survey showed business sentiment weakening to an 11-1/2 year low in September, strengthening the case for a reduction in interest rates.

In Australia, forecasts for a rate cut on Tuesday firmed with gathering economic gloom. Markets are pricing a better than 75% chance the Reserve Bank of Australia will reduce its cash rate for a third time this year.

The Aussie fell 0.2% to $0.6751.

Euro zone inflation numbers for September were largely weaker than expected, but the euro was little moved.

The Japanese yen firmed 0.2% to 107.75 yen per dollar .

"Risk-off sentiment is prevailing in the market," said Anthony Doyle, global cross-asset specialist at fund manager Fidelity International in Sydney, citing U.S. political turmoil and Brexit as looming worries, besides the trade war.

"There's a lot of uncertainty out there," he said.

Sterling was a touch higher at $1.2307, recovering some of last week's losses after investors took fright at the standoff in Britain's parliament over Britain's exit from the European Union.

Traders are expecting a lull in trade-war headlines as China takes a week-long holiday from Tuesday, which marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

China's offshore yuan held steady at 7.135 per dollar.