Forex – Dollar steady but political tensions cap gains
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, edged up 0.09% to 100.23.
The greenback’s gains were held in check amid concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance and recent hints from the new administration that it would prefer a weaker dollar.
The dollar pushed higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.35% to 112.32 after closing in on 10-week lows in the previous session.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump are to hold a two-day summit in the U.S., starting on Friday and trade and currency issues are expected to be in the spotlight.
Trump has accused Tokyo of using monetary policy to devalue its currency to boost exports.
The euro dipped, with EUR/USD edging down to 1.0692.
The single currency remained under pressure amid fears over the possibility of a Brexit or Trump-style shock result in France’s upcoming presidential election.
Worries over elections in the Netherlands, Germany and possibly Italy, as well as the escalating row over Greece’s bailout added to concerns over political risk in the euro area.
Dovish remarks by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who on Monday downplayed calls for the bank to scale back its stimulus program, also kept the euro on the defensive.
The pound edged higher, with GBP/USD up 0.12% to 1.2555 after British Prime Minister Theresa May won approval from parliament’s lower house on Wednesday to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand dollar was sharply lower, with NZD/USD falling 0.76% to 0.7207.
The country’s central bank left rates on hold at 1.75% overnight and indicated that they could remain there for two years or more, citing the “protectionist risk” posed by the Trump administration as a major hazard.