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Dollar clings to modest gains as strong U.S. data lends support

Published 02/20/2023, 07:19 PM
Updated 02/21/2023, 04:17 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: One hundred dollar notes are seen in this photo illustration at a bank in Seoul January 9, 2013.   REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won
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By Laura Matthews

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar held on to modest gains against its peers on Tuesday, supported by strong U.S. economic data, but the greenback was down against the British pound.

Business activity in the United States in February unexpectedly rebounded to an eight-month high, increasing to 50.2 from a final reading of 46.8 in January, according to a survey. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion while a reading below that signals contraction.

It follows recent robust data on retail sales, the labor market and manufacturing production, suggesting solid momentum in the economy at the start of the year.

"Today’s PMI releases show a large portion of the U.S. economy is still proving more resilient than expected, particularly the services sector, but the housing market remains challenged as evidenced by the surprise decline in existing home sales," said Erik Nelson, macro strategist at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Securities in London.

Nelson noted a dichotomy between the leading indicators from the U.S. economy, showing a recession still looming and lagging indicators pointing to still-solid demand. This will likely keep the Fed cautious and raises the bar for more aggressive rate hikes, according to Nelson.

"A measured pace of Fed tightening should limit USD gains for now as the ECB and other central banks play a bit of catch up, with the more medium-term direction for USD likely to depend more on relative growth paths," he said.

The euro fell 0.34% to $1.0648, extending losses after data showed euro zone manufacturing activity deteriorated, although losses were limited after a rebound in the more inflation-sensitive services sector.

The British pound extended gains against the greenback, rising 0.56% to $1.2106 after data showed an unexpected bounce in British business activity, suggesting a smaller risk of recession.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against six major peers, was at 104.16, or up 0.25%, rebounding from early declines to hover close to the day's high of 104.26.

"We're seeing consumers the world over that are less sensitive to interest rates than anticipated," said Adam Button, chief currency analysts at ForexLive in Toronto. "There's potentially a dream scenario unfolding where inflation comes down gently, and the consumer remains strong. It's almost foolish outlining a scenario like that, but so far, you couldn't have scripted a better start to 2023."

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Currency bid prices at 2:59PM (1959 GMT)

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

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 104.1600 103.9100 +0.25% 0.647% +104.2600 +103.7600

Euro/Dollar $1.0648 $1.0685 -0.34% -0.62% +$1.0698 +$1.0638

Dollar/Yen 134.9650 134.2900 +0.50% +2.94% +135.2200 +134.1500

Euro/Yen 143.72 143.46 +0.18% +2.44% +144.1600 +143.1800

Dollar/Swiss 0.9274 0.9232 +0.48% +0.32% +0.9282 +0.9230

Sterling/Dollar $1.2106 $1.2040 +0.56% +0.12% +$1.2147 +$1.1990

Dollar/Canadian 1.3536 1.3453 +0.62% -0.09% +1.3549 +1.3442

Aussie/Dollar $0.6853 $0.6911 -0.82% +0.55% +$0.6920 +$0.6847

Euro/Swiss 0.9876 0.9861 +0.15% -0.19% +0.9902 +0.9849

Euro/Sterling 0.8793 0.8870 -0.87% -0.58% +0.8886 +0.8791

NZ $0.6208 $0.6253 -0.67% -2.19% +$0.6261 +$0.6204

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 10.3025 10.2315 +0.77% +5.05% +10.3205 +10.2470

Euro/Norway 10.9742 10.9310 +0.40% +4.58% +10.9866 +10.9231

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: One hundred dollar notes are seen in this photo illustration at a bank in Seoul January 9, 2013.   REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

Dollar/Sweden 10.3618 10.3390 -0.05% -0.44% +10.3985 +10.2897

Euro/Sweden 11.0340 11.0396 -0.05% -1.04% +11.0918 +10.9887

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