The dollar edged higher Friday, set for a winning week as traders reassess the likely timing of the start of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus withdrawal helped by concerns about the strength of the global recovery, while the euro received minimal support from the European Central Bank.
At 2:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, edged higher to 92.505, on course for a 0.4% weekly rise, its first winning week in three.
The dollar has rebounded, to a certain extent, from last week’s low of 91.941, its weakest level since the start of August, as traders have started to reconsider the likelihood of the Federal Reserve’s tapering its bond-buying program in reasonably short order.
Last Friday’s weak nonfarm payrolls suggested this would be delayed, but since then the JOLTS survey showed a large number of unfilled job openings and initial jobless claims fell on Thursday to the lowest level in almost 18 months.
Additionally, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman stated last Thursday that the weak August labour report won't throw the central bank off course.
Across the pond, the European Central Bank said it would cut its bond purchases under its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program over the coming quarter.
However, this only provided minor support for the single currency as this was widely expected and seen as only a token step towards removing the central bank’s vast stimulus measures.
“We continue to think that the Fed will be faster in changing its monetary policy setup, and see more downside potential for the EUR/USD,” said analysts at Nordea, in a note.
Elsewhere, Britain's economy barely grew in July, with its GDP rising by just 0.1% from June, the weakest expansion since January when the country went back into strict lockdown rules.
This was considerably below the month-on-month growth of 0.6% expected, and followed a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the month, resulting in thousands of workers having to self-isolate at home.
USD/CNY fell 0.1% to 6.4446, heading for its weakest closing level since June, with the Chinese yuan helped by news of a call between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, raising hopes of improved relations between the two countries.
The central bank is expected to raise its key benchmark rate for the fifth meeting in a row as consumer prices rose by 6.7% last month, the highest level in five years, and way above the central bank’s 4% inflation goal.