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US dollar rebounds on dip-buying, ruble surges on adjusted Russian sanctions

Friday, February 3, 2017 - 06:33

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The US dollar rebounded from its weakest level against a basket of major rivals since mid-November on views that the greenback's longer-term upward trend remained intact, while the ruble surged after the US Treasury adjusted sanctions on a Russian spy agency.

[NEW YORK] The US dollar rebounded from its weakest level against a basket of major rivals since mid-November on views that the greenback's longer-term upward trend remained intact, while the ruble surged after the US Treasury adjusted sanctions on a Russian spy agency.

Analysts said US yields would remain more attractive than yields on other countries' bonds given the likelihood of steady interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve this year, while superior US economic growth would also underpin the greenback.

That outlook drove the US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, to last stand up 0.2 per cent at 99.807 after touching its lowest since Nov 14 at 99.233 in morning trade in Europe.

The euro was last slightly lower against the US dollar at US$1.0760, easing from an eight-week high of US$1.0828 struck in the morning US trading session.

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The USdollar remained down 0.5 per cent against the yen at 112.71 yen, but off a session low of 112.06 yen.

"I personally would be a dollar-dip buyer," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

"Worst-case scenario, the dollar will be steady and bumping along the top of the 15-year cycle."

Aggressive language from President Donald Trump on Iran and a refugee deal with Australia had weakened the US dollar earlier by putting the focus back on the geopolitical risks from his administration rather than the expectations of higher inflation that dominated markets' initial thinking last year.

A Federal Reserve policy statement released on Wednesday had also contributed to the US dollar's weakness by disappointing investors who were hoping for clearer signs on rate hikes.

The US dollar index has fallen steadily since Jan 3, although traders stressed it was not obvious it would fall much further ahead of US jobs numbers on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expect US employers to have added 175,000 jobs in January, up from 156,000 in December.

The Russian ruble rose to as high as 2.5 per cent on the day against the US dollar. Most of the gains came after the US Treasury adjusted sanctions on Russian intelligence agency FSB.

The US dollar hit 58.5580 rubles, its lowest level since July 2015.

"We have the first instance of the new administration taking a different tack with the Russian government," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Worldwide Markets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

"If that foretells better relations, then that will be better for the ruble."

REUTERS

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