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U.S. dollar, yen rise after soft China data, amid Afghan unrest

Economy Aug 16, 2021 03:06PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past a montage of old U.S. dollar bills outside a currency exchange in Kenya's capital Nairobi July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The dollar rose on Monday against commodity currencies such as the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars, while the safe-haven yen gained as disappointing economic data from China, political tension in Afghanistan, and the spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus weighed on risk appetite.

The dollar's gains came after a slump in consumer sentiment on Friday weakened the U.S. unit.

Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar was up 0.1% at 92.620, after falling to a one-week low of 92.468 on Friday. Its gains were most pronounced against commodity currencies.

The Aussie dollar was down 0.6% against the U.S. dollar at US$0.7335, while the New Zealand dollar fell 0.4% to US$0.7016 ahead of a Reserve Bank of New Zealand policy meeting on Wednesday, at which economists widely expect the first hike in the benchmark interest rate since 2014.

The greenback, meanwhile, rose 0.4% against the Canadian dollar to C$1.2572, amid Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's early election call for Sept. 20, betting that high vaccination rates against the coronavirus and a post-pandemic economic rebound will help him prolong and strengthen his grip on power.

"The jump in the U.S. dollar comes from a combination of uncertainty over Delta, as China shut down a major port over safety, and the new geopolitical reality facing Afghanistan," said Juan Perez, FX strategist and trader at Tempus Inc in Washington.

"Overall, the buck is indeed playing what could be a short-lived role as a safe haven because nothing is very clear other than the end of a very long-armed conflict others saw ending differently," he added.

Thousands of civilians desperate to flee Afghanistan thronged Kabul airport on Monday after the Taliban seized the capital over the weekend, prompting the United States to suspend evacuations as it came under mounting criticism at home over its pullout.

Currencies overall stuck to broad trading ranges as investors were wary of taking large bets at the start of a busy week for central banks.

China's July retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment were all weaker than expected as the latest COVID-19 outbreak weighed on the world's second-biggest economy.

Long positions on the greenback swelled to their biggest levels since March 2020, suggesting the dollar's recent move lower was more a temporary setback than the beginning of a structural downtrend.

The release of the Fed minutes this week will be key to the short-term outlook for the greenback, especially if it confirms more policymakers are leaning toward tapering its bond purchase plan by the end of the year.

Currency market volatility, even by its already low levels, is nearing 2021 lows thanks to the summer lull.

Elsewhere, minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia's latest meeting are due on Tuesday.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin fell 1.2% to $46,479 after hitting a three-month high of $48,190 over the weekend.


Currency bid prices at 2:54 PM (1854 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change


Dollar index 92.6080 92.5350 +0.09% 2.920% +92.6630 +92.4800

Euro/Dollar $1.1777 $1.1794 -0.14% -3.60% +$1.1801 +$1.1767

Dollar/Yen 109.2500 109.6100 -0.32% +5.74% +109.7500 +109.1150

Euro/Yen 128.65 129.31 -0.51% +1.36% +129.4800 +128.5100

Dollar/Swiss 0.9122 0.9154 -0.36% +3.10% +0.9163 +0.9110

Sterling/Dollar $1.3840 $1.3868 -0.19% +1.31% +$1.3878 +$1.3828

Dollar/Canadian 1.2571 1.2519 +0.45% -1.25% +1.2584 +1.2512

Aussie/Dollar $0.7335 $0.7377 -0.56% -4.64% +$0.7373 +$0.7320

Euro/Swiss 1.0743 1.0796 -0.49% -0.59% +1.0805 +1.0737

Euro/Sterling 0.8507 0.8501 +0.07% -4.81% +0.8515 +0.8485

NZ $0.7015 $0.7040 -0.36% -2.32% +$0.7043 +$0.7012


Dollar/Norway 8.8265 8.7980 +0.40% +2.87% +8.8500 +8.8185

Euro/Norway 10.3960 10.3840 +0.12% -0.68% +10.4219 +10.3616

Dollar/Sweden 8.6515 8.6487 -0.04% +5.55% +8.6683 +8.6281

Euro/Sweden 10.1902 10.1938 -0.04% +1.13% +10.2113 +10.1826

U.S. dollar, yen rise after soft China data, amid Afghan unrest

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Comments (2)
AIM Investor Journal
AIM_IJ Aug 16, 2021 2:35PM ET
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Bitcoin bubble along with property, tech stock and every other major asset class. Ports in the east closing at a time when container shortage is already at crisis levels. Shortages this coming Autumn and Winter will be nothing like the West has faced since the 70s
William Smith
William Smith Aug 16, 2021 12:36AM ET
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The Biden effect taking hold.
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