Dollar posts weekly gain on trade hopes

New York

THE US dollar rose against a basket of currencies on Friday, for its first weekly increase in three, prompted by hopes of progress in US-China trade talks and that the Federal Reserve would not lower rates aggressively.

Sterling retreated from a two-month high versus the greenback after the Irish foreign minister said that London and the European Union were not yet close to a Brexit deal.

US and Chinese deputy trade negotiators are set to continue talks that began on Thursday in an effort to lay the groundwork for high-level discussions in early October that will determine whether the world's biggest economies can reach a trade deal.

While tariffs and worries about protracted supply-chain disruption have hampered global business activity, the US economy is still faring relatively well, analysts said.

In late US trading, an index that tracks the dollar against a basket of six major currencies was up 0.24 per cent at 98.51 for a weekly gain of about 0.25 per cent. The euro fell 0.2 per cent on the day to US$1.10175, while the greenback slipped 0.37 per cent to 107.645 yen.

Against a favourable economic backdrop, the Fed lowered key lending rates by a quarter point on Wednesday, but signalled a higher bar to further reductions in borrowing costs.

On Friday, Fed officials delivered different assessments on the economy and what should be done about it. Interest rates futures implied traders saw a 63 per cent chance of another rate cut by year-end, compared with 69 per cent late on Thursday, CME Group's FedWatch program showed.

Meanwhile, sterling was briefly the biggest gainer overnight against the dollar after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said late on Thursday that he thought Brussels could reach agreement with Britain on its departure from the European Union.

Sterling's gains faded after the comments by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on a Brexit deal, and a Financial Times report that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had told colleagues that he did not expect to be able to reach a full "legally operable" deal covering the Irish border at a meeting of EU leaders.

The pound was down 0.37 per cent at US$1.2476 after touching a two-month high at US$1.2582. It reached a four-month high of 87.875 pence per euro before easing to 88.26 pence, down 0.15 per cent on the day. REUTERS

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