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US dollar falls as soft US data turns back Fed gains

Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 07:48

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The US dollar fell broadly on Friday after weaker-than-forecast data on housing and consumer sentiment cast a risk-off sentiment over US assets.

[NEW YORK] The US dollar fell broadly on Friday after weaker-than-forecast data on housing and consumer sentiment cast a risk-off sentiment over US assets.

The greenback gave back most of the previous day's gains, easing toward levels from earlier this week that were the lowest since November.

Disappointing economic readings and the lack of progress on fiscal stimulus from Washington have overshadowed the likelihood of more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The government said US home construction fell in May for a third straight month, to its lowest in eight months. The University of Michigan said its gauge on consumer sentiment deteriorated in early June.

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Market voices on:

"It raises some doubt on US growth for the rest of the year," said Minh Trang, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California.

The dollar index was down 0.3 per cent at 97.126, and on track for a 0.14 per cent decline on the week.

The dour US data boosted the yen, which had slid to a two-week low versus the US dollar.

"The move in the yen very much coincided with a strengthening of bonds in the US, which also coincided with a selling off in (US) equity markets," said Axel Merk, president and portfolio manager at Merk Hard Currency Fund in Palo Alto, California. "My guess would be that the risk-off environment prevailed."

Earlier, the yen had weakened after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said there was "some distance" to achieving the BoJ's inflation target of 2 per cent, and it was "inappropriate" to say how the Bank would exit its massive stimulus program as domestic inflation has remained sluggish.

That ran contrary to market speculation in the past month that the BoJ could be considering its own plan for eventually withdrawing emergency stimulus for the world's third largest economy.

The euro rose 0.35 per cent against the yen to 124.04 yen after touching a near two-week high earlier Friday.

The common currency was up 0.4 per cent versus the US dollar at US$1.1191, but about a cent below a seven-month peak of US$1.1296 hit before the Fed's widely-expected rate hike on Wednesday.

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