Dollar slumps, oil rebound proves fleeting

Wed Dec 9, 2015 4:48pm EST
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, giving up gains after an early rebound on a drop in U.S. crude oil inventories, while the dollar fell as investors betting against the euro were forced to reverse those positions following hawkish comments from a European policymaker.

Wall Street ended lower, as the S&P 500 moved in tandem with oil prices through most of the day, and closed at a low not seen since Nov. 13.

The dollar was sharply lower in afternoon trading on a resumption of the severe selling which had characterized last week's plunge against the euro after disappointment over European Central Bank policy moves.

Traders attributed the declines in the dollar to comments from European Central Bank member Ewald Nowotny, who said markets had overestimated what action the ECB would take at its Dec. 3 policy meeting, adding "there were exaggerated expectations in relation to the actions taken by the ECB."

The euro EUR= rose to $1.1029 after hitting a high of $1.1041, a level not seen since early November; it was seen as something of a surprise move ahead of the Dec. 15-16 Federal Reserve meeting on U.S. monetary policy.

"In a market that's looking for information he was really the sole voice," said Douglas Borthwick, managing director at Chapdelaine Foreign Exchange in New York.

Coming into this week, speculators had amassed their largest short position in the euro since May, and the change in the market's tenor since the ECB failed to deliver the jolt that investors expected has kept the dollar soft and the euro stronger.

"People thought that the ECB would take a step back and try to talk down the rhetoric, but instead you had Nowotny come out today and say, 'You know what? The ECB is right'," Borthwick said.   Continued...

Traders work shortly after the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson