Dollar loses ground amid doubts about U.S. stimulus - REUTERS
BY Stanley White
TOKYO (Reuters) - The dollar fell against most of its peers on Thursday amid fading hopes for a compromise between Republicans and Democrats over additional stimulus for the U.S. economy.
The Australian dollar rose after better-than-expected jobs data eased concerns about a persistent coronavirus outbreak in the country’s second-largest city.
The greenback was hampered by a decline in Treasury yields, but analysts say this is likely only a temporary setback because U.S. lawmakers will eventually agree to more stimulus to help the economy recover from the coronavirus.
“The dollar needs positive news on stimulus to rise further, but I’m sure we’ll get there, because these politicians can’t go back to their constituencies empty handed,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.
“Once this happens, gains in dollar/yen could be a catalyst for dollar gains against other currencies.”
Against the euro, the dollar fell to $1.1804, adding to a 0.4% decline on Wednesday.
The British pound rose 0.15% to $1.3053.
The dollar edged lower against the safe harbour Swiss franc to 0.9118.
The dollar pulled back from a three-week high to trade at 106.78 yen.
The onshore yuan briefly rose to a five-month high before steadying at 6.9421 per dollar as nerves set it before U.S. and Chinese officials meet Saturday to review their Phase I trade deal.
President Donald Trump accused congressional Democrats on Wednesday of not wanting to negotiate over a U.S. coronavirus aid package as top Republican and Democratic negotiators traded blame for a five-day lapse in talks over relief legislation.
The pandemic has taken a particularly heavy toll on the United States, where it has killed more people than any other country. Millions of U.S. workers have lost jobs, and supplemental federal unemployment benefits expired last month.
Market sentiment has swung between optimism and pessimism, but analysts argue that more stimulus is the most likely outcome because without it the U.S. economic recovery could stall.
The U.S. dollar index against a basket of major currencies was little changed on Thursday but was still well above the two-year low it reached last week.
Elsewhere in currencies, the Australian dollar traded at $0.7161, supported by data showing the economy created three times as many jobs as expected in July.
The positive jobs data suggests the economy remains resilient in the face of an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus cases in Melbourne.
Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar fell slightly to $0.6566.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand will consider more monetary stimulus if there are periods of resurgence in local coronavirus infections and renewed lockdowns in the country, Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand told Reuters on Thursday.
New Zealand this week locked down its biggest city, Auckland, and reimposed social distancing rules across the rest of the country as new coronavirus cases were reported, ending a 102-day run of no infections.
Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Sam Holmes and Lincoln Feast.