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FOREX-Dollar hits multi-month lows as expectations of flat rates solidify

The dollar sank to a six-year trough against the Canadian dollar and teetered near multi-month lows versus European currencies on Tuesday, as Treasury yields stalled amid renewed expectations the United States will not hike interest rates anytime soon.

Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan on Monday reiterated that he does not expect interest rates to rise until next year, fuelling a further decline in bets that inflationary pressure could force the Fed to act sooner.

This week a host of Fed policymakers are scheduled to speak, and the U.S. central bank will also release minutes from its most recent meeting, which may give indications about where monetary policy is headed.

The growing market consensus is that the Fed will tolerate what it sees as a temporary acceleration in inflation, which will keep the dollar lower against most major currencies.

“The dollar is on its knees and this seems to be a direct result of how investors feel about the U.S. inflation outlook and the Fed’s reaction,” said Valentin Marinov, head of G10 FX research at Credit Agricole.

Marinov highlighted two inflation outlook scenarios that would have different impacts on the markets – the first one being the current market expectation that price growth will soon ease.

“This will keep the Fed dovish, U.S. real yields very negative and the dollar weak… boosting commodity prices and supporting risk assets,” he said. “Under the second inflation outcome, we see a more persistent rebound of the U.S. inflation this and, potentially, early next year.”

Under Marinov’s central scenario, that could nudge the Fed towards tapering bond purchases this summer, thus boosting the outlook for U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield stood at 1.6471%, extending a pullback from a five-week high reached last week.

The dollar traded at $1.22 to the euro, the single currency hitting its highest against the greenback since Feb. 25. The British pound rose to $1.4198, its strongest since late February. Sterling has been buoyed as investors cheer the gradual lifting of strict coronavirus restrictions.

The Canadian dollar advanced to a six-year high of C$1.2013 against the greenback, aided by a rise in oil prices.

The dollar lost 0.3% to 108.96 yen. The currency pair has been locked in a narrow range amid worries about Japan’s slow pace of vaccinations and weakness in the greenback.

Some investors were already scaling back expectations for a Fed rate hike this year, and Kaplan’s comments gave traders even more incentive to sell the dollar.

The onshore yuan edged up to 6.4279 per dollar, not far from an almost three-year high reached last week.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars also rose against their U.S. counterpart.

In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin rose 3.3% to $45,023.53 but was still close to a three-month low after Tesla’s boss Elon Musk dented enthusiasm for the digital asset.

Rival digital currency ether rose 6.50% to $3,494 steading from a two-week low on Monday.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, Additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska)

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