Dollar nears six-month high against yen as risk appetite returns

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar neared a six-month high against the safe-haven Japanese yen on Tuesday as investors bought riskier assets, encouraged by signs that trade tensions have yet to hurt economic momentum.

  • Britain Horse Racing – Grand National Festival – Aintree Racecourse – 7/4/17 A bookmaker displays the new pound coin Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic
  • Investors appear to be shrugging off the deepening trade conflict between the United States and China and focusing instead on the positive outlook for second-quarter corporate earnings, which kick off this week. Wall Street banking stalwarts Citigroup, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo report results on Friday.

    “Most of the analysis the Street has produced over the last few weeks seems to suggest that the measures related to trade so far are not going to have that big an impact on global GDP,” said Thierry Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Group Limited.

    “Even if the trade concerns were still there, (investors) would be confronting a better earnings outlook in 2018, so that’s another consideration that’s keeping risk appetite strong.”

    The greenback could get a further boost if U.S. consumer price inflation figures come in higher than expected when they are published on Thursday, possibly prompting the Federal Reserve to speed up the pace of rate hikes, which would increase the value of the dollar.

    The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.4 percent to a session high of 94.475 after falling on Monday to 93.713, its lowest since mid-June. Against the Japanese yen, a currency usually bought in times of geopolitical uncertainty, the greenback was up 0.5 percent at 111.35 yen, approaching a six-month high.

    The British pound recovered some of the losses suffered Monday after two ministers quit over the government’s Brexit plans. Expectations that Theresa May will survive as prime minister to start negotiating her blueprint with the European Union briefly pushed sterling into positive territory on Tuesday, though gross domestic product data in line with forecasts and the stronger dollar weighed on the currency.

    “The market is worried that yesterday’s resignations could be a sign of major instability within the British government. However, we see little indication of that … sterling should correct its losses,” said Commerzbank FX analyst Esther Maria Reichelt.

    The pound tumbled more than a cent on Monday to $1.319 amid speculation that Britain was descending into deep political turmoil less than nine months before it is to exit the EU in March 2019.

    Turkey’s lira made up some of the Monday’s losses, last at $4.685. The currency had weakened to $4.752 after President Tayyip Erdogan named his son-in-law as Treasury and Finance minister on Monday.

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