Swiss franc drops to 2-month low, dollar bounces to 2-week high

LONDON (Reuters) – The Swiss franc fell out of recent trading ranges against the dollar on Monday, dropping to its lowest levels in two months while the U.S. currency bounced to a 2-week high.

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Dollar banknote is seen in this illustration taken May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

A weaker euro, which lost half a percent against the dollar by 1147 GMT, helped the index that measures the greenback’s broader strength gain 0.2% on the day.

The Japanese yen weakened to a fresh 11-week low of 104.95 yen per dollar.

Initially on the backfoot as stock markets rallied, the dollar clawed back into positive territory by late morning trade in London.

The Swiss franc broke lower from recent ranges to drop more than half a percent to its lowest against the buck since Dec. 2, at 0.8964 francs per dollar.

“If you look at the breakdown of franc performance since the start of the year, it is clear that franc underperformance has been concentrated versus the high beta currencies and sterling in particular,” said Kamal Sharma, director of G10 FX strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, noting that some nerves around Italian politics appear to have dissipated.

Sharma also said the dollar may be more resilient in the near-term as “both growth and vaccination favour the U.S.”

The pound traded 0.15% higher on the day at $1.3711.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars gave up early gains, falling 0.1% each.

Elsewhere, the Norwegian crown fell as much as 0.9% against the dollar to 8.6208 crowns per dollar.

Jens Naervig Pedersen, chief analyst for FX and rates strategy at Danske Bank, noted the Norway central bank’s Friday announcement of a substantial increase in the daily pace of its fiscal Norwegian crown buying from 800 million crowns in January to 1,700 million in February.

While an increase was expected, its size was a surprise, he said, with the implications of the announcement two-fold.

“First, it means the Norges Bank will buy 18 billion more NOK in February than in January, which adds a flow supportive argument to NOK after a week where the stagnating reflation theme weighed,” he said.

“Secondly, the larger NOK buying pace will drain liquidity from the interbank market, which puts upward pressure on NOK FRA/OIS spreads. By extension, this will improve the carry case of a long NOK position.”

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