Dollar Looks Set to End Week Down, Yen Nears a 3-Year Low

By Reuters
October 15, 2021 Updated: October 15, 2021

LONDON—The dollar headed for its first weekly decline versus major peers since the start of last month on Friday as global risk appetite rebounded, while the Japanese yen headed for a three-year low and the price of bitcoin hit nearly $60,000.

The dollar index slipped 0.1 percent to 93.9 and was down 0.2 percent for the week in what would be its first weekly loss in six weeks. The greenback tends to rise when investors seek safety.

Global stock markets have rallied this week as fears about a stagflationary economy have been eased by forecast-beating corporate earnings in the United States.

Only against the yen—another currency seen as a haven—has the dollar managed to maintain the momentum of the past five weeks, rising 0.4 percent on Friday and touching 114.18 yen for the first time since November 2018.

Analysts said investors long dollars had been squeezed out of their positions in the past few days, and inflation data did not support a further rise in the currency.

“The lack of any upside surprise in US CPI (consumer price inflation) data and confirmation of existing expectations on Fed tapering in the minutes provided no catalyst for additional USD buying and hence the sell-off,” said MUFG analyst Derek Halpenny.

The greenback had rallied since early September on expectations the U.S. central bank would tighten monetary policy more quickly than previously expected amid an improving economy and surging energy prices.

Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, pound, and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration on Jan. 21, 2016. (Jason Lee/Illustration/Reuters)

Minutes of the Fed’s September meeting confirmed this week that a tapering of stimulus is all but certain to start this year, although policymakers are sharply divided over inflation and what they should do about it.

Money markets are currently pricing in about 50/50 odds of a 25 basis point rate hike by July.

The next major glimpse of the U.S. economy’s health comes later on Friday with the release of retail sales figures.

The euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.1611 after touching $1.1624 on Thursday for the first time since Sept. 4.

Sterling rose 0.4 percent to $1.3722 following its climb to the highest since Sept. 24 at $1.3734 overnight.

The risk-sensitive Aussie dollar added 0.2 percent to $0.7428.

New Zealand’s kiwi dollar jumped 0.4 percent to $0.7061, extending Thursday’s 1 percent surge.

“We end the week with risk flying,” Chris Weston, head of research at brokerage Pepperstone in Melbourne, wrote in a client note.

“Equities are going up hard, and the JPY has no place as a hedge,” because it would just drag on overall portfolio performance, Weston said.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin rallied as high as $60,000, an almost six-month peak, as traders became increasingly confident that U.S. regulators would approve the launch of an exchange-traded fund based on its futures contracts.

By Tommy Wilkes