|3||Congo, Dem. Rep. of the|
|16||Australia and the Pacific|
|19||Central African Republic|
|24||Sao Tome and Principe|
Dollar gains as U.S. growth seen likely to outperform
By Karen Brettell
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar gained on Wednesday as investors priced for strong U.S. growth relative to other regions, while the safe haven Japanese yen continued to weaken to a seven-month low.
Investors have boosted bets on U.S. growth and inflation as the government prepares new fiscal stimulus, and speculation is rising that the Federal Reserve could also be closer to normalizing monetary policy than previously expected.
“What the market is looking at today are growth differentials between a recovering U.S. and more of a sputtering Europe,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions, in Washington.
Data on Wednesday showed that the euro zone economy is almost certainly in a double-dip recession as COVID-19 lockdowns continue to hammer the services industry.
U.S. data also showed that private payrolls rose by 117,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report, missing expectations.
However, “expectations are for stronger hiring” when the U.S. releases jobs data for February on Friday, Manimbo said.
The dollar index was last up 0.22% at 90.997.
The euro dipped 0.30% to $1.2054.
The U.S. currency has also benefited from a rise in U.S. Treasury yields. Benchmark 10-year yields on Wednesday rose to 1.481%, though they are below a one-year high of 1.614% reached last week.
Comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday will be closely evaluated for any indications that the Fed is uncomfortable with the recent yield increases. He is speaking at an event on the U.S. economy.
Riskier currencies including the Australian dollar dipped as stocks fell, indicating worsening risk sentiment. [.N]
The Aussie was last down 0.57% at $0.778. It has fallen from a three-year high of $0.8007 last week.
Meanwhile the safe haven Japanese yen continued to weaken, falling as far as 107.08 yen, the weakest since July 23.
The British pound was last down 0.06% on the day at $1.3950 after British finance minister Rishi Sunak said that Britain’s government would borrow significantly more in the coming financial year than thought just a few months ago.
Sunak said the economy would regain its pre-pandemic size in the middle of 2022, six months earlier than previously forecast, helped by Europe’s fastest COVID-19 vaccination program.
(Reporting by Karen Brettell; Editing by Alex Richardson)
Sterling steadies vs dollar after UK budget released
By Ritvik Carvalho
LONDON (Reuters) – Sterling steadied against the dollar on Wednesday and gained against the euro after the announcement of an expansive budget designed to prop up the British economy as it prepares for a re-opening from lockdown.
The pound traded at $1.3964 by 1341 GMT, largely unchanged, after British finance minister Rishi Sunak delivered an annual budget speech in which he announced a costly extension to emergency aid programmes and tax hikes for businesses.
The currency was 0.3% higher against the euro at 86.32 pence.
“Looking at the performance of sterling over the period of the budget suggests that the detail, most of which was widely trailed, had little material impact upon GBP,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC.
“We have seen gilts come under a little pressure as the gilt remit, borrowing levels for 2021/22 are higher than expected. Near-term risk dynamics are as important for GBP as anything the Chancellor may have announced.”
Sterling is the best-performing G10 currency this year, up about 2% versus the dollar, as investors bet the speed of Britain’s vaccination programme will enable a faster reopening of its economy, which has suffered its worst annual contraction in 300 years.
“Overall, the additional fiscal support announced should underscore the constructive outlook for GBP for 2Q, with further fiscal help facilitating the economic rebound and making GBP the outperformer in the G10 FX space,” strategists at ING said in a note. “We expect GBP/USD to breach the $1.5000 level in 2H21 and dips below $1.4000 should be faded.”
Reflation trade’s big FX winner: GBP https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/rlgvdezzjpo/Pasted%20image%201614771196456.png
Relief over a last-minute Brexit trade deal signed with the European Union last year and a Bank of England that has pushed back market expectations of negative interest rates has also been beneficial for the pound, which last week hit its highest in two and a half years.
Sunak said the economy will regain its pre-pandemic size in the middle of 2022, six months earlier than previously forecast, helped by Europe’s fastest COVID-19 vaccination programme.
But it will remain 3% smaller in five years’ time than it would have been without the damage wrought by the coronavirus crisis, he said. Extra support is needed now as the country remains under coronavirus restrictions.
Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole, warned that a premature withdrawal of fiscal support for the economy could slow and even derail the recovery at a time when post-Brexit uncertainty lingers and clouds the outlook for the services sector.
“To the extent that this also makes the BoE more cautious and thus more willing to push against any further tightening of the UK financial conditions, it could also hurt the GBP,” Marinov said.
“We have two MPC doves – Tenreyro and Haskell – speaking today and tomorrow respectively. Their comments could become the trigger for a more sustained correction lower of the overbought and overvalued GBP.”
Silvana Tenreyro, a member of the BoE’s rate-setting committee will be speaking at 1600 GMT.
After the budget announcement, money markets reflected a 10- basis-point increase in the Bank’s base rate by September 2022, according Refinitiv data.
(Refiles to add dropped word to headline)
(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Giles Elgood, John Stonestreet, Larry King)
Sterling steadies ahead of UK budget
By Ritvik Carvalho
LONDON (Reuters) – Sterling steadied against the dollar on Wednesday and gained against the euro ahead of the announcement of Britain’s budget for the coming fiscal year, which is expected to prop up the economy as it prepares for a reopening from lockdowns.
The pound was flat at $1.3967 by 0841 GMT, after falling to its lowest in 2-1/2 weeks on Tuesday. It was 0.1% higher to the euro at 86.45 pence.
In a budget speech at 1230 GMT, finance minister Rishi Sunak will promise to do “whatever it takes”, including a five-month extension of a huge jobs rescue plan, to steer the economy through what he hopes will be the final months of COVID restrictions.
Sunak has already racked up Britain’s highest borrowing since World War Two and he will turn to the bond markets again in his budget speech, saying the task of fixing the public finances will only begin once a recovery is in sight.
“We’re not expecting too many surprises when the Chancellor takes to his feet to deliver one of the most widely leaked budgets in history,” said Robert Alster, CIO at wealth manager Close Brothers Asset Management.
“The key focus will clearly be continued support for the economy, as we navigate our way out of lockdown. Businesses will be listening closely for the approach to business rates and VAT cuts in the coming months.”
Sterling is the best performing G10 currency this year, up about 2% versus the dollar as investors bet the speed of Britain’s vaccination programme will enable a faster reopening of its economy, which suffered its worst annual contraction in 300 years.
Relief over a last-minute Brexit trade deal signed with the European Union last year and a Bank of England that has pushed back market expectations of negative interest rates has also been beneficial for the currency, which only last week hit its highest in 2-1/2 years.
Analysts remain bullish, although in the long-term, investors may focus on Britain’s debt.
“Overall, the additional fiscal support announced should underscore the constructive outlook for GBP for 2Q, with further fiscal help facilitating the economic rebound and making GBP the outperformer in the G10 FX space,” strategists at ING said in a note to clients.
“We expect sterling/dollar to breach the $1.50 level in 2H21 and dips below $1.40 should be faded.”
(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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