U.S. dollar banknotes.
Liu Jie | Xinhua via Getty
The dollar dipped to one-week lows against a basket of currencies on Monday as stocks hit record highs and Treasury yields held below recent highs, though analysts said low liquidity with many parts of the world off for Easter holidays was likely exaggerating the move.
The dollar has rebounded this year along with rising U.S. Treasury yields as investors bet on faster U.S. economic growth and higher inflation as the economy reopens after COVID-19-related business shutdowns.
But the dollar’s drop on Monday even after strong jobs data on Friday may indicate that much of the bullish outlook is priced in, at least for the near-term.
“The fact that we’re not testing new highs (in yields) right after non-farm payrolls on Friday suggests that maybe some of this U.S. economic optimism is already priced in,” said Vassili Serebriakov, an FX strategist at UBS in New York.
That said “one has to be a little bit cautious in interpreting these moves because much of the world is still closed for holidays.”
The greenback had rallied on Friday after data showed that the U.S. economy created the most jobs in seven months in March as more Americans got vaccinated and the government doled out additional pandemic relief money, marking the start of what could be the strongest economic performance this year in nearly four decades.
The dollar fell 0.40% against a basket of currencies on Monday to 92.59. It has fallen from 93.44 on Wednesday, which was the highest since Nov. 5.
The euro gained 0.50% to $1.1811. Sterling rose 0.57% to 1.3903. The Australian dollar, which typically rises when risk appetite is strong, gained 0.78% to $0.7653.
Data on Monday showed that a measure of U.S. services industry activity surged to a record high in March amid robust growth in new orders.
The greenback has generally risen as stocks gain for the past few months. Investors are now watching to see if that relationship continues as it may indicate a shift in how the currency responds to improving risk appetite.
“The trickiest thing for markets right now is to figure out what the dollar’s sensitivity is to good U.S. economic news,” said Erik Nelson, a macro strategist at Wells Fargo in New York.
“This is a huge question because if we’re entering a phase where the dollar is no longer a safe haven and more of a ‘risk on’ currency, that’s big regime change,” Nelson said.
Investors are also focused on U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, which would involve raising corporate taxes to pay for the new spending.
Biden would be willing to push through his $2 trillion infrastructure plan without the support of Republican lawmakers if he cannot reach a bipartisan deal, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Sunday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that she was working with G20 countries to agree on a global corporate minimum tax rate to end a “30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.”
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