Dollar swings with yields in markets nervous ahead of jobs data - REUTERS
By David Henry
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar recovered quickly from a fall on Wednesday when comments from a top U.S. Federal Reserve official appeared to suggest that the central bank may reduce support for the improving economy more quickly than widely thought.
The official’s bullish comments on the U.S. economy triggered a rebound in U.S. Treasury yields and turned currency market attention away from the release, just two hours earlier, of an unexpectedly weak private employment report.
The dollar swung from being down 0.3% for the day to up 0.3%on the opposing clues on whether the U.S. will see strong economic growth and higher interest rates or a serious drag from the coronavirus pandemic.
The ADP National Employment Report was seen as possibly foreshadowing softness in jobs data due on Friday from the American government.
The currency markets have been expecting Friday’s non-farm payrolls report to be the next big catalyst for exchange rates, followed by comments expected at a symposium of central bankers at the end of this month in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
At mid-day in New York, the dollar index against major currencies was up 0.3% to 92.268.
The Japanese yen, often seen as a competing safe haven, was a big beneficiary of the dollar’s initial fall on the ADP report and gained to 108.77 per dollar, but couldn’t hold the break below 109. The dollar was last trading at 109.54 yen, up 0.5%.
The euro and British pound also swung against the greenback. The euro was last trading at $1.1836, off 0.2% for the day. Sterling was down 0.1% to $1.3903.
The initial downdraft came when the ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. private payrolls increased about half as much as economists had expected, likely constrained by shortages of workers and raw materials.
“It was a fairly big disappointment,” said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities.
The ADP report has a mixed record of predicting the government report, Issa said, but added, “the miss is substantial enough that the markets may be a little bit more nervous going into Friday’s report.”
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and other policy makers have recently emphasized that upcoming employment reports will be critical to the board’s decisions about when and how to cut back on support for the economy.
The dollar has lost value in recent weeks as declining yields have made strategists question whether the U.S. economy will grow as much as they had expected in light of the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.
The New Zealand dollar made strong gains for the second consecutive day, after a drop in unemployment in the country raised expectations that rate hikes could begin within weeks.
The kiwi was last up 0.4% against the U.S. dollar, at $0.7044.
The country’s central bank had said on Tuesday it would soon begin consulting on ways to tighten mortgage lending standards, as it tries to control an inflated housing market.
Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, rose 8% to $2,706.17 ahead of an upcoming change in the Ethereum blockchain network that will take some tokens out of circulation.
Bitcoin rose 3% to $39,421.