Saturday, May 21, 2016

Forex - Dollar hits 3-1/2 week highs vs. broadly weaker yen

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.14 percent and the yen strengthened a bit against the United States dollar, possibly in a risk-off shift toward the safe-haven currency. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5%.

"Hawks have tended to give more speeches than doves so it will be interesting to hear if we get confirmation of the hawkish message from the more dovish members", said Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank's chief global economist.

The dollar held at its highest in more than seven weeks against a basket of major currencies early on Friday, on track for a third week of gains as investors position themselves for an early rate hike.

Bill Dudley, President of the New[1] York Federal Reserve said on Thursday that a rate rise in June or July would likely be appropriate and that he was "surprised" by Wall Street's subdued expectations for when the central bank would next tighten policy.

Bond prices moved notably higher in early trading before moving roughly sideways for the remainder of the session.

Industrials and health-care stocks led the downturn in the wake of suggestions in minutes of the last meeting of the Fed in April that it might raise interest rates at its next meeting in June. And while consumer spending is solid, it will need to pick up to support a growth rate of 2%, according to Deutsche Bank in its monthly economic report released on Wednesday.

"Profit-taking amidst the stronger USA dollar and an increasingly likely rate hike in June could see gold come under continued selling pressure", said ANZ Research on Friday morning. The market has been betting on just one rate hike this year from the Fed, but the June meeting will produce a new set of forecasts for the economy and its now famous "dot plot" which indicates where members of the Open Markets Committee see interest rates heading over the next three months to two years.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 91.22 points to 17,435.40, while the broader S&P 500 fell 7.59 points to 2,040.04.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil extended its losses, falling 89 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $47.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Thursday, strategists at Goldman Sachs said that while the possibility of the Fed rate increase in June has increased, it's far from a done deal.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell less than one basis point to 1.85 percent.

Spot gold XAU= had risen 0.2 percent to $1,256.60 per ounce by 0047 GMT, after declining for two days in a row. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.5 percent to 4,739.12.

OIL: Oil prices were relatively flat, with the benchmark NY rate down 2 cents at $48.63 a barrel and Brent, used to price worldwide oils, fell 18 cents to $48.63 a barrel in London.

The dollar hit 110.58 yen, its highest level against the Japanese currency since April 28.

The spot gold price fell to a fresh seven-week low of $1,244 on Thursday as the United States dollar surged to a new seven-week high of 95.5 on the same day.


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