Off The Wire
Dollar edges higher as trade deal uncertainty supports
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar edged higher to a 6-week peak against a basket of currencies on Friday as a still unsigned partial U.S.-China trade deal kept investors on edge and the shortened holiday week limited currency moves.
The dollar index, which compares the greenback against six other major currencies, was up 0.07% at 98.438. Earlier in the session, the index rose as high as 98.544, its highest since Oct. 15.
China warned the United States on Thursday it would take “firm countermeasures” in response to U.S. law backing anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, and said attempts to interfere in the Chinese-ruled city were doomed to fail.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law congressional legislation which supported the protesters, despite angry objections from Beijing, with which he is seeking a deal to end a damaging trade war.
“Market activity looks on track for another quiet session after yesterday’s Thanksgiving break lull,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto, said in a note.
“Chinese authorities have yet to respond to President Trump’s signing of the Hong Kong bill and, alongside radio silence on the trade talk front, the FX market tone appears mildly pro risk,” Osborne said.
Against the Japanese yen, which tends to attract investors during times of geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world’s biggest creditor nation, the dollar rose 0.06%.
The U.S. currency has also found support recently from positive economic data that show the world’s biggest economy is on a firm footing.
U.S. economic growth picked up slightly in the third quarter, data showed on Wednesday, in contrast to other indicators pointing to a slowdown in global activity.
The Federal Reserve also flagged an upbeat outlook amid signs of labour market strength and a possible turnaround in business investment.
The shortened trading week due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States has kept currency moves muted this week.
On Friday, the euro was 0.09% lower against the greenback.
Though data showed eurozone inflation accelerated faster than expected in November on a rise in food and services prices, annual inflation rates remained far lower than European Central Bank expectations.
The pound hovered around $1.29 on Friday, showing little reaction to political headlines, with analysts expecting little movement in the run-up to the UK general election on Dec. 12.
The Swedish crown reached a four-month high versus the euro at 10.51 on the back of better-than-expected third-quarter gross domestic product data. After months of acute weakness, the Swedish currency started to gain last month.
Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Olga Cotaga in London and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Nick Zieminski