FILE PHOTO: An employee counts U.S. dollar bills at a money exchange in central Cairo, Egypt, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany./File Photo
October 4, 2021
By Saikat Chatterjee
(Reuters) – The dollar edged higher on Monday after two consecutive sessions of losses as hedge funds ramped up their holdings as widening concerns about the Chinese property sector and resilient U.S. Treasury yields boosted the appeal of the greenback.
After spending the second quarter of 2021 on the back foot the dollar has received a fresh boost in recent weeks, climbing to its highest levels in a year against its rivals last week as top investment banks have revised up their forecasts.
Citigroup strategists expect more upside in the dollar due to challenges in the Chinese real estate sector, higher U.S. yields not driven by a global economic recovery and the negative impact for energy importers.
Shares in embattled developer China Evergrande were halted in Hong Kong, rekindling market nerves about the possibility of contagion.
The dollar’s gains were more pronounced against some of its top rivals with the greenback scaling a 14-month high on the euro and a 19-month peak versus the yen last week as markets reckoned U.S. interest rates could rise ahead of global peers.
In early London trading on Monday, the euro dipped back below $1.16 and at $1.1598 is not far from last week’s trough at $1.1563. Versus a basket of its rivals, the dollar edged 0.1% higher at 94.04, breaking a two-day losing streak. The offshore yuan weakened about 0.3%.
Latest weekly positioning data showed hedge funds have increased their dollar holdings against its rivals to its highest levels since November 2019.
The dollar’s gains has also infused life in the moribund currency volatility markets with a gauge measuring daily swings rising to its highest levels in 2-1/2 months at 6.2%.
With Chinese markets shut for a holiday, traders attention will be firmly focused on monthly U.S. jobs data on Friday that analysts believe will pave the way for U.S. policymakers to strike a more hawkish tone. Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury debt were holding near their highest levels in more than three months at 1.47%.
Friday’s U.S. labour data is expected to show continued improvement in the job market, with a forecast for 460,000 jobs to have been added in September – enough to keep the Federal Reserve on course to begin tapering before year’s end.
“The market senses that if U.S. employment data stay robust in coming months, Fed rate hikes may not be too far behind an end to tapering in 2022,” Credit Suisse strategists said in a quarterly outlook note.
(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in SINGAPORE; editing by Alex Richardson)