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US dollar pulls away from 14-year peak as investors take profits
[TOKYO] The US dollar edged lower in early Asian trading on Monday as some investors took profits after its rise last week to a 14-year peak against a currency basket, though it remained underpinned by expectations of more US interest hikes in the coming year.
The Federal Reserve's interest rate forecasts released on Wednesday after its widely expected rate increase showed three more hikes 2017, which fuelled the US dollar's rise to last week's highs.
The US dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of six major counterparts, was last down 0.3 per cent at 102.680. It climbed as high as 103.560 last week.
The euro was last up 0.1 per cent at US$1.0461, holding above the nearly 14-year low of US$1.0364 notched last week.
The US dollar was down 0.3 per cent against its Japanese peer at 117.61 yen, taking a breather after climbing to a 10-1/2 month high of 118.66 yen last week.
"With the Christmas and year-end holidays coming, there is no incentive for investors to take new risks, and there is some profit-taking, so it is difficult for major currency pairs to move much," said Kumiko Ishikawa, FX market analyst at Sony Financial Holdings. "We'll probably continue to see some adjustments of US dollar-long positions this week," she added.
US dollar net long positions were little changed in the week through Dec 13, affirming a trend in place for the last several weeks since the Nov 8 election of Donald Trump as US president on the expectation of more inflationary infrastructure and fiscal spending.
Net shorts on the yen, meanwhile, rose to their largest since early December last year, according to Reuters calculations and data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday.
Trade data released early in the session showed the impact of the weaker yen is already apparent, as the country's exports fell at a slower pace in November. They slipped 0.4 per cent in the year to November, compared to a 2.0 per cent annual decline expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
The Bank of Japan was scheduled to begin a two-day policy meeting on Monday, at which it is expected to stand pat on its 10-year government bond yield target as the weaker yen helps Japan's economic prospects, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.
While many investors closed their books in the waning days of the year, others braces themselves for the possibility of volatile moves in thin liquidity.
"In five of the last nine years, the last two weeks of the year have been pretty quiet, but in 2008 and again in 2014, the last two weeks were the most volatile of the year," Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at FXPrimus, said in a note.