Dollar gains broadly as risk sentiment subdued; data eyed

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar gained broadly against its rivals on Monday as concerns about global growth boosted the safe-haven appeal of the greenback and weighed on risk-oriented currencies such as the Australian dollar.

Risk appetite was broadly on the back foot in the Asian session as data showed Japanese exports falling by its biggest margin in nearly four years and as oil prices weakened to a 21-year, reflecting a widening evaporation in global demand.

Against a basket of its rivals =USD, the greenback rose 0.2% to 99.90 and edged closer towards a three-year high of near 103 hit last month.

“There is still a degree of safe haven support and a level of demand for U.S. dollar that is going to transcend whether or not we are in risk-on or risk-off mode,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

The dollar gained about 0.1% on the euro and pound and 0.2% on the Japanese yen. It last bought 107.80 yen JPY=EBS and traded at $1.2478 per pound GBP= and $1.0870 per euro EUR=EBS.

The dollar’s gains came at a time when latest positioning data revealed that investors ramped up their short positions on the greenback.

The value of the net short dollar position, derived from net positions of International Monetary Market speculators in the yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc and Canadian and Australian dollars, rose to $12.59 billion in the week ended April 14, from $10.5 billion the previous week.

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar NZD=D3 was the only one to hold its own against the greenback, rising 0.3% to $0.6044 after the nation said it will lower its alert level one notch next Monday – allowing some businesses to resume – and review that stance on May 1.

New Zealand, which has recorded just 12 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, remains a rare outlier with other Western and Asian countries still under lockdown.

The economic impact of the enforced lockdown will be evident from data later this week where flash PMI data will be released.

Composite euro zone PMIs, comprising services and manufacturing, plummeted last month to a record low of 29.7 versus February’s 51.6 – the biggest monthly drop since the survey began in July 1998.

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