Dollar Up but Near One-Month Low Over Fed Tapering Expectations Delay

By Gina Lee – The dollar was up on Monday morning in Asia, but remained near a one-month low after investors postponed expectations of when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin asset tapering.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies edged up 0.14% to 92.165 by 10:51 PM ET (2:51 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair inched up 0.09% to 109.82.

The AUD/USD pair was down 0.29% to 0.7437. The NZD/USD pair was down 0.25% to 0.7142, after climbing to $0.7170 on Friday for the first time since Jun. 11.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.02% to 6.4541.

The GBP/USD pair inched down 0.06% to 1.3856.

The latest U.S. jobs report, released on Friday, disappointed. Non-farm payrolls were at 235,000, the smallest gains in seven months, and the unemployment rate was 5.2% for August. The dollar fell to 91.941, its lowest level since Aug. 4, on Friday.

In Europe, the U.S. data gave the euro a boost as expectations that the European Central Bank would begin asset tapering when it hands down its policy decision on Thursday. The euro was flat at $1.18775 after hitting its highest level since Jun. 29, $1.1909, at the end of the previous week.

With labor market recovery a condition for the Fed to begin asset tapering, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) (CBA) analysts now expect the process to begin in December 2021.

“The U.S.’s deteriorating COVID-19 situation will weigh on the dollar because the situation is better elsewhere in the major economies,” CBA analysts said in a note.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar remained near its highest level since Jul. 15 with the Reserve Bank of Australia due to hand down its latest policy decision on Tuesday.

National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) predicts the central bank will reduce asset purchases again at the meeting, “although the optics of tapering amid protracted lockdowns means it is likely to be a close decision,” analyst Tapas Strickland said in a note.

Following strong two-week rallies, both the Australian and New Zealand dollars “appear to have firmly broken out of recent ranges,” said Strickland.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin remained around the $51,785.60 mark after hitting $51,920 for the first time since May 12 earlier. El Salvador’s bitcoin law that will make the virtual currency legal tender in the country, will take effect on Tuesday.