The dollar was down on Wednesday morning in Asia, but remained near its strongest levels in 2021. Climbing U.S. Treasury yields investor nervousness about the U.S. Federal Reserve beginning asset tapering as economic challenges start to emerge, all capped losses for the safe-have asset.
The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched down 0.06% to 93.722 by 12:56 AM ET (4:56 AM GMT).
The USD/JPY pair inched up 0.02% to 111.52. Japan’s incumbent Liberal Democratic Party will vote for a leader, likely to be the country’s next prime minister, on Wednesday.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields were up 25 basis points in five sessions to 1.5548% as the Fed preps to begin asset tapering before the end of 2021 and inflation worries continue.
“Compared to the unencumbered optimism at the start of 2021, it is a twilight zone for markets as the year approaches its end,” Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) analysts said in a note.
“Persistently stagflationary dynamics, i.e. a lower growth but a hawkish Fed, leave little room for a dollar downtrend,” the note added.
Surging energy prices, concern about the growth outlook in China, with developer China Evergrande Group facing its latest bond interest payment interest on Wednesday, and rolling power outages that are impacting output all remained on investors’ radars.
The pound took a particular beating overnight due to concerns over the economic impact of a shortage of gas and a scramble for fuel.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is due to hand down its policy decision in the following week and is widely expected to hike interest rates.
“NZD/USD remains stuck around $0.7000, as the effect of the hawkish RBNZ is offset by increasing expectations of the Fed,” Westpac analyst Imre Speizer told Reuters.
Meanwhile, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will participate in an ECB forum later in the day.