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U.S. dollar, yen advance as Delta variant dampens risk appetite

Forex Jul 19, 2021 04:16PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Four thousand U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker counting currency at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The safe-haven U.S. dollar, yen, and Swiss franc rose on Monday as investors grew nervous about a raging coronavirus variant that could threaten the outlook for a global economic recovery.

The three currencies firmed as benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields dropped to a more than five-month low of 1.176%, with risk aversion spreading across financial markets.

The greenback climbed to a more than three-month peak against a basket of major currencies, but has come off its highs as the yen and Swiss franc gained with the worsening in risk sentiment.

The U.S. dollar though remained sharply higher against risk-sensitive currencies such as the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars.

The yen, meanwhile, climbed to its highest in 1-1/2 months versus the dollar.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain worldwide, accompanied by a surge of deaths around the United States almost entirely among unvaccinated people, U.S. officials said on Friday.

"The wall of worry is being built," said Christopher Vecchio, senior analyst at DailyFX.com, the research unit of forex broker IG. "Lower equities, lower yields, strength in the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar all amount to a significant risk-off impulse in markets."

In afternoon trading, the dollar index, which measures the greenback's value against six major currencies, rose to its highest since April 5. It was last up 0.2% on the day at 92.868.

As a result of global uncertainty related to the coronavirus variant, U.S. interest rates markets also reduced expectations on U.S. Federal Reserve tightening in 2022 and 2023.

"Rates markets don't seem to think any Fed action is imminent, particularly as Delta variant concerns surge," said Vecchio.

Fed funds futures, which track short-term rate expectations, showed the chances of a quarter-point hike by the Fed in December 2022 dropped to 58% on Monday from 90% on July 13, when the consumer price index was released. The likelihood that the Fed raises rates in January 2023 fell to 70% from 100% last Tuesday.

The dollar was also firmly higher against commodity currencies. It rose more than 1.1% against the Canadian dollar to C$1.2763. The Aussie dollar dropped 1% versus the greenback to US$0.7325, while the New Zealand dollar also dropped 1.1% to US$0.6923.

The yen surged against the dollar on Monday, rising to its highest since late May. The greenback was last down 0.6% at 109.44 yen.

The Swiss franc gained as well, dragging the dollar down 0.2% to 0.9180 franc.

The pound was down 0.9% at $1.3657 after UK Health Minister Sajid Javid announced over the weekend that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was in self-isolation. That forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak into quarantine, pushing sterling down to a three-month trough against the dollar earlier in the session. [GBP/]

The euro was down 0.1% at $1.1794, after dropping to a three-month low of $1.1764, ahead of this week's European Central Bank meeting.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin was testing key support of $30,000 and was last down 3.6% at $30,618.

========================================================

Currency bid prices at 4:08PM (2008 GMT)

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

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 92.8380 92.6590 +0.20% 3.175% +93.0410 +92.6270

Euro/Dollar $1.1797 $1.1805 -0.06% -3.44% +$1.1824 +$1.1764

Dollar/Yen 109.4850 110.0800 -0.54% +5.96% +110.0950 +109.0700

Euro/Yen 129.17 129.96 -0.61% +1.77% +129.9700 +128.9000

Dollar/Swiss 0.9180 0.9197 -0.18% +3.76% +0.9221 +0.9163

Sterling/Dollar $1.3668 $1.3764 -0.69% +0.05% +$1.3767 +$1.3655

Dollar/Canadian 1.2744 1.2621 +0.97% +0.08% +1.2807 +1.2614

Aussie/Dollar $0.7338 $0.7401 -0.85% -4.61% +$0.7403 +$0.7323

Euro/Swiss 1.0828 1.0852 -0.22% +0.19% +1.0862 +1.0827

Euro/Sterling 0.8629 0.8572 +0.66% -3.45% +0.8641 +0.8565

NZ $0.6931 $0.7000 -0.99% -3.48% +$0.7004 +$0.6916

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 8.9540 8.8575 +1.11% +4.30% +8.9680 +8.8695

Euro/Norway 10.5644 10.4553 +1.04% +0.93% +10.5813 +10.4225

Dollar/Sweden 8.6889 8.6755 +0.05% +6.01% +8.7271 +8.6692

Euro/Sweden 10.2517 10.2466 +0.05% +1.74% +10.2691 +10.2443

U.S. dollar, yen advance as Delta variant dampens risk appetite
 

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Comments (3)
Ahsan Khan Rahmani
Ahsan Khan Rahmani Jul 19, 2021 5:56AM ET
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Me also
divad mocihc
9divaD Jul 19, 2021 1:42AM ET
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I’m waiting for epsilon variant
walter reed
walter reed Jul 19, 2021 12:12AM ET
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They just keep shifting the goal post. This is why they have to resort to 1984-style tactics to control information and rewrite the past. Now they are trying to say "Oh yeah, the vaccine was never to prevent you from getting and spreading the virus! Duh, that is basic science! When you get the hepatitis vaccine, you still get and spread a little bti of hepatitis, it's jut not as bad! And when you get the small pox vaccine, you still get and spread just a little but of small pox! And when you get the measles shot, you still get and spread a little measles! Duh! This is how vaccines always work! We swear! They told us all along that the vaccine would not actually prevent the spread of the virus! They never told us it would prevent us from getting COVID! You evil Drumph supporters! This has always been reality! This is what CNN and Twitter and the government tell me! They have never been wrong about anything!"
walter reed
walter reed Jul 19, 2021 12:12AM ET
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"Oh yeah, this non-FDA approved vaccine is totally safe! PS, ignore that while the FDA has not yet approved the vaccine, they are requiring we now print on the bottle that it causes heart inflammation and auto-immune disease, with higher incidence in ch.ildr.en that we are trying to push the vaccine on despite being the lowest risk group who have less risk that the common flu. In fact, chi.ld.ren are more likely to die in car accidents while going to get the vaccine than from COVID. Oh yeah, and we were wrong about this not coming from a lab in Wuhan, sorry for silencing and banning you from talking about it for a year calling you conspiracy theorists...jk, we are not sorry, it was just for political purposes...we knew the whole time."
 
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