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Dollar Down, but Investors’ Flight to Safety Limits Losses

Forex May 15, 2022 11:51PM ET
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© Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – The dollar was down on Monday morning in Asia, starting the week near a 20-year high. However, investors are turning to the U.S. currency thanks to fears about global growth while cryptocurrency markets appeared to find some stability after a tumultuous week.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched down 0.02% to 104.38 by 11:42 PM ET (3:42 AM GMT). The index briefly shot past the 105 level on Friday, its highest since December 2002, after six successive weeks of gains.

The USD/JPY pair was down 0.23% to 128.89.

The AUD/USD pair fell 0.86% to 0.6879 and the NZD/USD pair fell 0.72% to 0.6237.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.06% to 6.7934. Chinese data released earlier in the day showed that fixed asset investment grew 6.8% year-on-year, industrial production contracted 2.9% year-on-year, Chinese industrial production grew 4% year-on-year, and retail sales contracted 11.1% year-on-year in April 2022. The Chinese unemployment rate stood at 6.1%.

The GBP/USD pair edged down 0.20% to 1.2236.

Investors have flocked to the safe-haven greenback due to concerns about the U.S. Federal Reserve's ability to tame high inflation without causing a recession. However, worries about slowing growth arising from the war in Ukraine and the economic impact of China's lockdowns to curb its latest COVID-19 outbreak also persist.

"Broad dollar strength is being supported by a mounting global growth concern," Barclays analysts said in a note.

Events to watch this week included U.S. retail and production data due on Tuesday, as well as public remarks from several Fed officials. "The focus will be on any potential reiteration/pushback on the notion that 75-basis point rate hikes are off the table for now,” the note added.

Markets are pricing in 50 basis point hikes at the Fed's next two meetings, according to CME's Fedwatch tool. However, the possibility of larger increases remains.

The disappointing Chinese data was also on investors’ minds.

"A weaker growth outlook in China is likely to keep commodity G10 currencies under pressure and the dollar supported," according to the Barclays note.

The euro started the week near its lowest level since early 2017, thanks to the strong dollar and the European economy's exposure to the war in Ukraine that was perpetrated by the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. Top European Central Bank officials are also due to speak throughout the week.

In Asia-Pacific, the Japanese yen was a little softer on Monday morning at 129.43 yen per dollar. It managed its first week of gains since early March 2022 during the previous week. Concerns of an economic recession meant U.S. Treasury yields eased their recent rally. As yields remain low in Japan, the yen is vulnerable to higher U.S. yields.

Cryptocurrencies had a quiet weekend after the previous week’s turmoil driven by TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, breaking its dollar peg. Bitcoin was trading around the $31,000 mark after falling to $21,400 on Thursday, its lowest since December 2020.

 
 
Dollar Down, but Investors’ Flight to Safety Limits Losses
 

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