© Reuters. 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
By Tom Westbrook and Stanley White
SINGAPORE/TOKYO (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar was supported on Monday amid renewed worries about coronavirus restrictions in Asia, but investors are heavily positioned for it to fall while the U.S. Federal Reserve keeps rates low.
Easing commodity prices and virus outbreaks in Singapore and Taiwan – where COVID-19 had been contained – helped modest dollar gains of 0.3% against the Australian dollar and 0.4% versus the New Zealand dollar. [AUD/]
The greenback was little changed against the euro and the yen, but it remains close to testing major support levels, which if broken could see a return to a downtrend that pressed it lower through April.
A dollar bounce that followed higher-than-expected inflation data last week has also faded as traders figure the Fed will keep rates low.
The dollar last traded at $1.2135 per euro and has support around $1.2179. The is likewise, at 90.367, just above key support at 89.677 and 89.206. It bought 109.32 yen and traded at $0.7759 per and $0.7223 per .
Fed minutes, from an April meeting that predated the data surprise on inflation last week, are due on Wednesday and are the next market focus for clues on the Fed’s thinking.
“We expect the minutes … to reiterate that policymakers consider the pick up in inflation to be transitory,” said Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:) in Sydney.
“The upshot is that we do not expect the (Fed) to consider tapering its asset purchases soon,” she said. “The dollar is expected to resume its downtrend this week after last week’s CPI-inspired boost.”
Speculators increased their bets against the dollar last week, mostly by adding to bets on the euro and to a lesser extent sterling as Britain and Europe head toward recovery.
Sterling was perched near a two-and-a-half-month high on Monday, at $1.4088, as Britain reopens its economy after a four-month COVID lockdown. [GBP/]
Things are travelling in the opposite direction in Asia where some early leaders in taming the pandemic are now dealing with new outbreaks.
Singapore and Taiwan have both tightened curbs as cases rise, which weighed on the Singapore dollar, while the Taiwan dollar fell to a three-week low on Monday.
The was little changed at 6.4361 per dollar after a mixed round of economic data showed China’s industrial output had slowed and retail sales missed forecasts last month.
Elsewhere cryptocrrencies traded under pressure after another weekend bouncing around following tweets from Tesla (NASDAQ:) boss Elon Musk. hit its lowest since February on Sunday after Musk hinted at Tesla possibly selling its holdings.
Bitcoin last traded 4.85% weaker at $44,191 and ether was 4.96% lower at $3,362.
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