Dollar firms, euro falls as ECB signals easing

by Jonathan Adams

The ECB kept interest rates steady but committed to contain the fallout from a second wave of Covid cases

The dollar firmed on Friday and the euro wallowed near a four-week low against the greenback after the European Central Bank signalled further monetary easing by the end of the year.

The euro’s overnight decline helped lift the U.S. dollar near a four-week high against a basket of currencies.

The ECB kept interest rates steady on Thursday but committed to contain the growing fallout from a second wave of coronavirus infections, saying it would hone its response by its December meeting, as widely expected by the market.

We agreed, all of us, that it was necessary to take action and therefore to recalibrate our instruments at our next Governing Council meeting, ECB President Christine Lagarde told a news conference.

The economy in euro zone is deteriorating at a faster pace than expected, and some view that monetary easing won’t be enough to lift the euro zone, or that it will be too late (in December). Such reactions probably pressured the euro to fall, said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities, noting that it will be difficult for the single currency to rise in the immediate future.

The euro was little changed at $1.1676 in Asia, taking a pause after hitting a four-week low of $1.1650 in U.S. trade overnight.

Against the yen, the common currency slightly eased at 122.08 yen.

The dollar index rose to a four-week high overnight due to the euro’s decline and U.S. data. It stayed near Thursday’s level at 93.916 and was on track to post its second monthly gains.

Data due on Friday include euro zone’s third-quarter gross domestic product and October inflation, while the U.S. awaits September personal consumption and expenditures as well as Chicago PMI.

The greenback was little changed against the Japanese yen at 104.55 yen, having rallied from a five-week trough overnight as it benefited from a rebound in U.S. treasury yields and broad dollar buying.

Sterling changed hands at 1.2927, undermined by a lack of Brexit-related headlines as London and the European Union have just two months to reach a post-Brexit trade agreement.

The Aussie changed hands at $0.7031, slightly above a three-month low of $0.7002 marked overnight.

The kiwi held steady, last fetching 0.6623 per dollar.

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