Dollar rises vs yen, Swiss franc as risk appetite grows


NEW YORK: The dollar advanced against the safe-haven yen and Swiss Franc on Wednesday, as risk appetite increased with global stocks and US yields were mostly higher ahead of an annual Federal Reserve gathering later this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and a summit of major central banks this weekend.
Currency investors are waiting for a statement from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in Jackson Hole on Friday as well comments from global monetary authorities who will meet at a Group of Seven event this weekend about possible measures to lift slumping economies around the world.
Powell’s highly-anticipated speech comes after last week’s inversion of the US yield curve – widely regarded as a recession signal.
The curve inversion has boosted expectations of another interest rate cut at its September policy meeting.
The interest rate futures market has priced in 100 basis points of easing over the next year.
The Fed minutes of the July meeting released on Wednesday showed that the policy-making body discussed a 50-basis point cut, but most viewed that as mid-cycle adjustment.
The dollar briefly extended gains after the minutes.
“It looks like a lot of the Fed officials viewed the July cut as a mid-cycle adjustment and not the start of a long-term monetary easing cycle,” said Brendan McKenna, currency strategist, at Wells Fargo Securities in new York.
“The 50-basis point cut was discussed, but it doesn’t look like it was ever a rational possibility. This is definitely supportive of the dollar,” he added.
In afternoon trading, the dollar rose 0.3pc against the yen to 106.56 yen, gaining in four of the last five sessions.
Against the Swiss franc, the dollar climbed 0.4pc to 0.9820 franc.
The dollar has also been supported by talk of more spending. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration was considering potential tax cuts on wages as well as profits from asset sales.
With the Fed minutes out of the way, the focus is squarely on Fed Chairman Powell and the Jackson Hole meeting.
Collin Martin, fixed income strategist at Schwab Center for Financial Research in New York said it would be interesting to see whether Powell in his speech on Friday still characterizes July’s easing as a mid-cycle adjustment or a signal for a series of interest rate cuts.
“The biggest risk is still trade uncertainty,” Martin said. “This should lead them down to a dovish route. Their views may have changed a day later after tariffs were announced.”
The euro, meanwhile, was down 0.1pc at $1.1087, moving little since Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday. Some investors believed the move made a snap general election less likely.