TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar hovered near two-week lows against a basket of currencies on Tuesday with trade seen driven by month-end flows as investors looked ahead to U.S. jobs figures later in the week.
The U.S. currency steadied from falls after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Friday offered no signal on when the central bank plans to cut its asset purchases beyond saying it could be “this year.”
“The payroll data will be the next highlight given the focus on the Fed’s taper. A strong reading will boost expectations the Fed will give markets prior notice in September before a formal decision in November,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Weaker jobs numbers could instead cement a case for later action – a pre-announcement in November with a formal decision in December.
Trade on Tuesday, however, is likely to be driven more by month-end flows from various businesses for their import and export transactions.
In early trade, the euro held firm at $1.1799, near Monday’s three-week high of $1.1810.
The euro zone’s consumer price data due at 0900 GMT is expected to show that inflation in the currency bloc has gathered pace in August.
Sterling fetched $1.3762 while the yen was little changed at 109.98 yen to the dollar.
The dollar index stood at 92.698, near Monday’s two-week low of 92.595.
In Asia, China’s official PMI due around 0200 GMT is being closely watched for clues on the extent of the impact caused by the outbreak of the Delta variant in the country.
The offshore Chinese yuan stood at 6.4648 per dollar, not far from a three-week high of 6.4595 touched on Friday.
The Australian dollar, often seen as a proxy bet on the Chinese economy, stood at $0.7292, having peaked on Friday at $0.7317.
The Canadian dollar fetched C$1.2610, having reached a two-week high on Monday, thanks in part to the Canadian current account surplus widening more than expected due to robust oil prices.
Oil prices strengthened to three-week highs as U.S. Gulf Coast platforms, refineries and pipelines grappled with uncertainty on restart timelines after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the region. [O/R]
Emerging market currencies also held firm, with the MSCI emerging market currency index hitting a three-week high of 1,733.33 on Monday. It last stood at 1,732.54.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin eased to $47,626 while ether held slightly firmer at $3,277.
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