Dollar Up, but Fed Asset Tapering Move Guessing Game Keeps Moves Small

The dollar was up on Wednesday morning in Asia but was trading near its lowest point in nearly three weeks. Investors continued to keep moves small, with the latest U.S. jobs report, which could provide clues to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s asset tapering timeline, due on Friday. The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched down 0.10% to 92.730 by 11:25 PM ET (3:25 AM GMT). It fell as low as 92.395 for the first time since Aug. 6 on Tuesday. The USD/JPY pair edged up 0.16% to 110.19. The AUD/USD pair inched down 0.01% to 0.7314. The Australian GDP grew 9.6% year-on-year and 0.7% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2021.The NZD/USD pair inched down 0.06% to 0.7040. The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.04% to 6.4633, with China’s Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI), at a disappointing 49.2 in August, below the 50-mark indicating growth. The GBP/USD pair edged down 0.11% to 1.3739. After climbing to a nine-and-a-half month high of 93.734 on Aug. 20, the greenback has since been on a downward trend as some Fed officials suggested that asset tapering would not begin imminently. While Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that asset tapering could begin in 2021 at the previous week’s Jackson Hole symposium, he did not provide a concrete timetable. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester also said on Monday that she was not yet convinced that recent inflation data satisfied the central bank’s price stability goal. On the data front, the U.S. Conference Board (CB) consumer confidence index was 113.8, a six-month low, while the S&P/Case-Shiller 20 n.s.a. house price index composite grew a record 19.1% in June. With labor market recovery one of the Fed’s conditions to begin asset tapering, investors will be paying attention to the latest U.S. jobs report that includes non-farm payrolls, due out of Friday. “The dollar uptrend is over for the time being at least,” after Powell successfully separated the debate over taper timing from any decisions about higher rates, National Australia Bank head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill said in a note. “Positive price action” in the Australian and New Zealand dollars since their Aug. 20 lows suggests “a base has now been formed for both currencies,” the note added.
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