Dollar inches lower into holiday season


The dollar headed into the Christmas break on Friday just over half a per cent off highs hit after this month’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, with a handful of second-tier data unlikely to disturb markets already in holiday mode.

With Tokyo absent, the dollar inched down to 117.36 yen (£0.8157), compared with 10-month highs of 118.66 yen (£0.8248) a week ago and almost unchanged for the year, having been as low as 99.00 in June.

The euro was also a shade firmer at $1.0448 (£0.85), having rebounded only modestly from a nearly 14-year low of $1.0350 (£0.84) set earlier in the week.

Many in financial markets are betting on further dollar strength next year, but dealers expect little progress over the next two weeks when most investors will be absent and volumes low.

In support of the yen, the euro and sterling are the scale of their falls over the past six months, tempting short-term players to take profit on those trades.

Both the yen and euro may also be safe havens for capital in the face of security concerns and the risk a Donald Trump White House, while supporting inflation and a repatriation of funds to the United States, may provoke a trade war with China.

The dollar is up more than 7 per cent against a basket of currencies since lows hit on U.S. election night in November but has been flat for the past week.

“My overall sense is that we’ll start the year eking out further gains from the post-Trump trends, before we get a change of tack,” said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes.

“I reckon dollar-yen will get as high as it can relatively early in the year, the euro as low as it can by the time of the French elections in May and Treasury yields may get as high as they can sometime soon after that.”

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The author Paul