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Dollar edges up vs yen as traders eye ECB meeting for cues

Dec 7, 2016, 11:40 AM
News ID: 7391
Dollar edges up vs yen as traders eye ECB meeting for cues

EghtesadOnline: The dollar edged back up towards a 10-month high against the yen on Wednesday, while most major currencies appeared to be looking ahead to Thursday's European Central Bank policy meeting.

The ECB is widely expected to announce an extension to its quantitative easing programme, but there is uncertainty over whether the size of the monthly asset purchases will be kept steady or scaled back, and over whether a formal signal on the eventual end of the asset-purchase programme will be sent, Reuters reported.

If the ECB does say it will start to scale back its asset purchases - so-called tapering - the euro would be likely to rebound following a 4 percent fall against the dollar over the past month, analysts said.

On Wednesday it edged up 0.1 percent to $1.0724. The European currency had slumped on Monday to $1.0505, its lowest since March 2015, in a knee-jerk reaction after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi lost a referendum on constitutional reform and said he would resign.

But it quickly jumped back to a 3-week high of $1.0797 on the same day as a worst-case political scenario for Rome appeared to have been averted for the time being, and as investors turned their attention to the ECB.

"People had gone into the referendum with a very pessimistic view and I think the last five years have taught us that, as far as the euro is concerned, political issues often don't have a lasting impact," said DZ Bank currency analyst Sonja Marten in Frankfurt.

The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 114.20 yen, not far from the peak of 114.83 hit last week, its highest against the Japanese currency since early February. The greenback has surged over 10 percent against the yen in the past month.

Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Kikuo Iwata said on Wednesday that the central bank had not shifted its focus away from the pace of money printing and stressed it remained committed to using both rate cuts and asset purchases as key tools to revive the economy.

"The Fed is hiking rates, the ECB might extend the duration of its programme... but the next big thing is going to be tapering," said Marten. "There's a general move away from adding onto expansionary measures. So the central banks that continue to signal that they are willing to do that stand out."

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was flat at 100.50, having poked above 102.00 to a 13-1/2-year in late November as U.S. Treasury yields soared on prospects of president-elect Donald Trump adopting large fiscal spending and reflationary policies.

"There are not many factors for the market to trade on ahead of Thursday's ECB meeting, which remains the week's focal point," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo. "It could spell the beginning of the end of the Trump rally."

The biggest mover among major currencies was the Australian dollar, which fell as much as 0.6 percent after weaker-than-expected GDP data.

The Canadian dollar was flat ahead of a Bank of Canada policy meeting that is expected to see interest rates left unchanged.