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Dollar struggles after biggest weekly drop in four months; G20 eyed

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An employee counts U.S. dollar bills at a money exchange office in central Cairo, Egypt, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The dollar was on the back foot on Monday after sustaining its biggest weekly drop in four months last week as traders remained cautious about the prospects of trade talks between the United States and China at this week’s G20 summit.

The greenback has been on the receiving end of a broad market selloff in major currencies as global central banks led by the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a dovish outlook on monetary policy due to growing signs of a weak global economy.

The dollar fell 1.4 per cent against other currencies last week, its biggest weekly drop since mid-February. On Monday, it edged 0.1 per cent lower to 96.11.

But the selloff has raised concerns that markets have turned excessively bearish against the dollar, especially since the Fed has the most room to cut interest rates relative to its peers, such as the European Central Bank, where rates are already in negative territory.

“U.S. rates are still higher than other countries’ rates and U.S. bond yields are not likely to go negative any time soon, whereas many other countries’ yields are already negative far out into the curve,” said Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global.

“It’s the best of a bad bunch.”

Latest weekly positioning data confirmed that view.

While hedge funds have turned mildly bearish on the outlook for the dollar in the latest weekly positioning figures, they have ramped up bearish bets against currencies such as the Australian dollar on fears of rising challenges for the global economy.

Investors focused on whether Washington and Beijing can resolve their trade dispute at a summit in Japan this week.

Both China and the United States should make compromises in trade talks, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Monday.

Elsewhere, the euro stretched its rally last week, when it added 1.4 per cent, rising about 0.15 per cent to 1.1386 dollar, its highest since March 22. It last traded at 1.1381 dollars.


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