December 5, 2018 / 8:24 PM / 14 days ago

Dollar recovers as hit from fears of U.S. recession eases

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar edged higher on Wednesday, as the boost to the euro and the yen from worries about a possible U.S. recession following an inversion in part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve faded.

A trader shows U.S. dollar notes at a currency exchange booth in Karachi, Pakistan December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

The greenback rose 0.35 percent against the Japanese yen and the euro gave up all its early gains to trade about flat on the day.

The U.S. currency fell broadly earlier this week after a thaw in trade tensions between Washington and Beijing sapped demand for the safe-haven greenback. The currency also came under pressure after the U.S. bond market sent worrisome signs about economic growth.

The difference between short-dated and long-dated U.S. Treasury yields narrowed on Tuesday as the inversion of the yield curve spread between more maturities, prompted by worries about a slowdown in U.S. economic growth.

Still, lingering uncertainty regarding China and the United States’ ability to resolve their trade war provided some support to the greenback.

“The ‘big’ dollar remains contained in a tight range against G10 currency pairs,” Dean Popplewell, vice president of market analysis at OANDA in Toronto, said in a note.

“The U.S. dollar is caught in the cross currents of safe-havens flows, as global stock markets remain volatile, and investors’ realignment of Fed rate hike expectations in 2019,” he said.

On Tuesday, the futures market implied traders expect the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates at its next policy meeting, on Dec. 18-19, but they have scaled back their expectations of two rate hikes in 2019 to less than 10 percent, down from 59 percent a month ago.

Tariff-driven price increases have spread more broadly through the U.S. economy, though on balance inflation has risen at a modest pace in most parts of the country, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in its latest report on the economy.

The euro, which initially rose following a Reuters report that European Central Bank policymakers are exploring ways to withdraw stimulus in 2019, soon gave up those gains.

“We are on the side that thinks dollar is up for some losses as others recover, but without the fundamentals being there, like GDP and PMI expanding consistently, there is not clear end in sight for dollar dominance,” said Juan Perez, senior currency trader with Tempus Inc in Washington.

Businesses across Europe hit the brakes last month as a manufacturing slowdown in the euro zone spread to its dominant service industry, while Brexit uncertainty hammered British companies, surveys showed.

The Australian dollar AUD=D4 slumped 0.97 percent against the greenback as disappointing economic data further dimmed the chance of a rise in rates.

The Aussie, often viewed as a barometer of Chinese growth, had risen early in the session after China’s Commerce Ministry said that a Chinese trade and economics delegation had held a successful meeting with the United States.

Sterling reversed early losses on a more positive outlook over Brexit, overcoming data showing a shock slide in Britain’s services sector and suggesting the economy would barely grow in the last quarter of 2018.

The Canadian dollar weakened to a one-and-a-half-year low against its U.S. counterpart as investors slashed expectations for further interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada after a dovish interest rate announcement from the central bank.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Susan Thomas

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