Dollar extends post-payrolls pullback; Antipodeans jump

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar fell on Tuesday and its Australian and New Zealand peers led gains as traders wagered on a patchy U.S. job market holding interest rates low while the rest of the world reopens.

FILE PHOTO: An employee of the Korea Exchange Bank counts one hundred U.S. dollar notes during a photo opportunity at the bank’s headquarters in Seoul April 28, 2010. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak/File Photo

Sterling rose as much as 0.6% to a one-week high of $1.3898 as markets looked forward to England becoming the first major country to formally start living with the coronavirus by dropping COVID-related curbs in a fortnight’s time. [GBP/]

The euro ticked 0.2% higher to $1.1890 despite an unexpected slump in German industrial orders. The yen rose by about the same margin to 110.80 per dollar and the New Zealand dollar jumped nearly 1% to $0.7104 after a strong business survey pulled forward rate hike expectations.

The Aussie rose as much as 1.2% at one point to $0.7599, even as Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe struck a dovish tone in a news conference after holding rates and paring bond purchases, mostly as expected. [AUD/]

The moves extended a dip in the dollar since U.S. labour market data last week that was upbeat but not so strong as to risk bringing forward the day when the Federal Reserve might start tapering its asset buying or planning imminent rate rises.

“I think the market has just felt a bit of relief,” said Bank of Singapore currency analyst Moh Siong Sim.

“Now that we’ve got (U.S. jobs data) out of the way, we’re seeing a little bit of dollar pullback. I don’t think it’s going to be a big dollar pullback, but the next catalyst to worry about – U.S. jobs or inflation – is still some time away.”

In the meantime, market pricing is shifting quite quickly in New Zealand. Bonds were reeling and the kiwi leapt above its 20-day and 200-day moving averages, after a business survey showed a sharp improvement in mood and a warning on labour supply.

With closed borders and a COVID-free population, businesses said times were good and they had raised prices, but they also had never found it so hard to find workers – prompting economists at two local banks to forecast rate hikes in November.

“It is very clear that record amounts of monetary stimulus are no longer needed to support the economy and inflation risks are getting too high for comfort,” said ASB economist Jane Turner in a note as the bank brought forward forecast hikes from May.

The kiwi also touched a one-month high against the Aussie on the apparent gulf in tone between the RBNZ, which has hinted at hikes next year, and the dovish-sounding RBA.

But that was reined in as traders decided to focus on the positive aspects of RBA commentary.

Australia’s central bank said it would taper bond purchases, left its cash rate at a record-low 0.1% and said it was likely to stay there until 2024, but was upbeat about the economy and expects upward revisions to its forecasts.

“The Fed is not the only hawk in town,” said Maybank senior FX strategist Christopher Wong. “Australia is in much better position than expected – (it) was a positive assessment.”

Elsewhere a sharp rise in oil prices following abandoned talks among producers about output levels lent support to exporter currencies such as the Norwegian crown and Canadian dollar. [O/R]

On the horizon later in the day – when U.S. markets return from a holiday – is a U.S. services survey. Then on Wednesday the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June meeting, in which it made a hawkish projection for rate hikes in 2023, might offer more insight to the shift in thinking.

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