By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – The dollar weakened in early European trade Monday, weighed by falling yields, weak economic data and few signs of a new relief package to help the U.S. economy.
At 3:20 AM ET (0720 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.3% at 92.537. USD/JPY was down 0.5% at 105.47, GBP/USD gained 0.5% to 1.3163 and EUR/USD was up 0.2% at 1.1896.
U.S. economic data disappointed Monday, with the Empire State Manufacturing index dropping to 3.7 in August, well below the 15 level expected as well as July’s reading of 17.20.
This release came out ahead of Friday’s Purchasing Managers Indices, seen as more forward looking indicators, and suggests the U.S. economic recovery may be stalling.
Yields on the 10-year note plunged as much as 5% on Monday, reducing the attraction of assets denominated in dollars.
Meanwhile, investors still wait for the two political parties to agree to a much-needed financial support package. With lawmakers now in recess and both parties’ conventions over the next two weeks, the chances of anything being signed off any time soon appear to be slim.
Even the dollar’s traditional role as a safe haven seems to be attracting little demand.
The Trump administration stated Monday that it would further tighten restrictions on China’s Huawei Technologies, cracking down on its access to commercially available chips. However, this has had little impact, with the delay in the review of the U.S.-China trade deal suggesting this important trade relationship can hold even amidst conflict on multiple other fronts.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve minutes are due Wednesday, and investors will be studying these carefully to see if there was any discussion about the central bank adopting an average inflation target. With inflation having been under target for so long, an average target would imply that a loose monetary policy for longer than would ordinarily be expected.
These dollar losses also look set to grow, if positioning data are to be believed.
CFTC data, ending Aug. 11, added to signs that bearish sentiment on the U.S. dollar continues to grow, according to analysts at ING, in a research note.
“The most evident contribution comes from yet another rise in EUR net positioning, which is now at +28% of open interest, a touch below the 30% highs seen in April 2018. This was the seventh consecutive week of gains in EUR positioning,” said ING, with the euro representing the biggest weight in the USD weighted positioning vs the CFTC-reported G10 currencies.
Additionally, “there is little indication from the spot market that the USD short-building process has stopped in the last few days and we may see USD net positioning inching lower still next week,” ING added.
Elsewhere, USD/RUB traded 0.1% lower at 73.5989, retracing a touch after the pair climbed to the top of its recent trading range as Russia continues to suffer from the coronavirus outbreak as well as a weak economy, weighed by U.S. sanctions.
That said, Russian reserves hit $600 billion for the first time ever last week, so there are few signs of this ruble weakness turning into full blown currency flight, particularly with oil prices stabilising.
Forex – Dollar Weakens; Bearish Factors Mount