Aug, 24(Agencies) — US dollar nursed a sharp pullback against Asian currencies on Thursday after softer-than-expected global economic data muddied the interest rate outlook and pushed down US yields ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole symposium.
Australian dollar, which has been taking a battering for a few months on signs of China’s slowdown and resilience in the US, jumped 0.9% overnight after US manufacturing and services PMIs missed expectations.
“Weaker than expected … data led markets to scale back their expectations for US policy,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia currency strategist Carol Kong, with jobless claims the next focus ahead of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Friday speech.
The New Zealand dollar also leapt overnight, as did the yen, which crossed below 145 to the dollar for the first time in more than a week tracking a sharp move lower in US Treasury yields.
Further moves for the major pairs were only slight in Asia morning trade, leaving the Aussie at $0.6479, the kiwi at $0.5976 and the yen firming slightly to 144.64 per dollar.
Dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies remains higher for the month, but dipped about 0.2% overnight.
US dollar holds modest gains
PMI data was soft globally, which tempered gains for the euro and sent sterling on a wide-ranging round trip before it steadied around $1.2717.
Euro held at $1.0865 in early Asia trade. Europe’s contraction in manufacturing output extended and services activity fell into decline, overnight surveys showed. British factory output slumped, leaving the economy on course for recession. US business activity growth was its weakest since February as the economy seems to be starting to stall.
Ten-year US yields tumbled 13 basis points (bps) to 4.198%, their sharpest one-day slide in more than three months, which has taken some of the heat out of recent rises. “The dollar’s correlation with rate differentials has been very strong in recent weeks,” said Standard Chartered’s head of G10 FX research, Steve Englander. “However, concerns on global and China growth may be high enough for any slippage in yields that pushes the dollar lower to be seen as a buy-USD, sell-bonds opportunity,” he said.
“Our baseline remains that the USD is vulnerable on a medium-term horizon, but in the short term, it is unclear how big a shift in the Fed outlook is needed to reverse current market trends.”