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Forex - Dollar Dips Amid Negative Rates Concerns

Published 05/08/2020, 02:58 AM
Updated 05/08/2020, 02:59 AM
© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar weakened in early European trade Friday as the onslaught of grim economic numbers raised the specter of negative U.S. interest rates, undermining the yield advantage of holding dollar-denominated assets.

At 2:55 AM ET (0655 GMT), the U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, stood at 99.775, down 0.1%, while EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.0838 and GBP/USD pushed 0.2% higher to 1.2386. USD/JPY gained 0.1% to 106.41.

Thursday’s initial claims report revealed that 3.169 million Americans claimed unemployment last week, meaning more than 33 million have now filed for support since the coronavirus pandemic ripped through the economy.

This prompted the yield on the two-year Treasury to settle at a record low on Thursday, finishing the trading session at 0.129%, according to Tradeweb, down from 0.180% at Wednesday’s close. 

Investors have started to price in the chance of the Federal Reserve cutting official interest rates below zero for the first time ever, with the January fed funds futures contract reaching a peak of 100.025 on Thursday in New York -- a record high -- indicating a policy rate of negative two and a half basis points.

Despite the U.S. Federal Reserve saying that it does not view negative rates as “appropriate”, a worsening economic downturn could force the Fed’s arm to expand its crisis response.

The April employment report is due at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT), and will capture an entire month of lockdown measures that brought large parts of the economy to a standstill.

Economists expect that nonfarm payrolls plunged by 22 million last month. 

That would be 27-times the worst monthly decline during the Financial Crisis and 11-times the record drop of September 1945, the demobilization of World War II, Bloomberg reported.

Elsewhere, the Turkish lira remains under pressure despite the country’s banking watchdog barred local lenders from trading lira with Citibank, BNP Paribas (OTC:BNPQY) and UBS, saying the three foreign banks failed to meet their lira liabilities.

The regulator has recently limited the amount of lira Turkish banks can make available to foreign investors and banks, in an attempt to make it tougher to bet against the local currency.

Turkey faces a relatively high $170 billion in external debt costs this year and has been burning through foreign exchange reserves at a fast pace, trying to defend its currency.

At 2:55 AM ET, USD/TRY traded at 7.1493, up 0.5%, having reached 7.25 Thursday,


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