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Dollar Mixed as Chinese Stimulus Papers Over Economic Ills

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- The dollar was mixed against developed-market peers in early trading on Monday after hitting a new four-month high in overnight trading.

The greenback was also a touch weaker against the Chinese yuan after the People’s Bank of China added to its already extensive stimulus measures since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in cutting its medium-term financing rate to a new record low.

The measures reflated Chinese asset markets still further, leaving the benchmark stock index where it was before the New Year holiday, but have done little to lift the uncertainty over the path of the Chinese economy as it struggles with the virus outbreak.

By 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the dollar index, which tracks the dollar against half a dozen developed-market currencies, was at 99.007, thanks largely to gains against the Japanese yen in the wake of data showing that the Japanese economy shrunk at an annual pace of 6.3% in the fourth quarter.

That number was far worse than the 3.7% drop expected and came after a hike in the country’s consumption tax in October.

"Annualization always exaggerates trends," said UBS Wealth Management chief economist Paul Donovan on a morning briefing, noting the one-off hits from a sales tax increase in October and a subsequent typhoon.

By 3:45 AM ET, USD/JPY was at 109.86, up 0.1%. The dollar was also a touch stronger against Sterling at $1.3029, while EUR/USD edged up from last week’s lows to $1.0838.

Trading is expected to be relatively quiet on Monday, not just because of the U.S. President’s Day holiday, but also because of key business sentiment surveys later in the week. ‘Flash’ purchasing managers indices from IHS Markit are due on Friday.

Nordea analyst Martin Enlund argued in a note at the weekend that the euro may be close to its near-term lows.

“Hard data looks terrible in Germany, but maybe we shouldn’t care too much about it?” Enlund wrote, adding that the usually-reliable Ifo survey “suggests that we are close to peak negativity around German hard data.”

However, he acknowledged a risk that the euro’s decline could prompt further U.S. tariffs from President Donald Trump, an action that could stop any euro turnaround in its tracks.

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