FX round-up: Tax reform delays weigh on the dollar

Digital Look WebFG News | 08 Nov, 2017 18:35 - Updated: 18:34 | | |


Wednesday saw the greenback fall against a basket of currencies as possible delays to US President Trump's tax reform plans weighed on investors minds.

The dollar index traded 0.07% down to 94.845 by 1700 GMT.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post cited unidentified sources reporting that Senate Republican leaders are considering a one-year delay in the implementation of a major corporate tax cut to comply with Senate rules.

Analysts stated that any delay or watering down of proposed reforms will work against the US currency.

"Fed rate expectations and the news flow regarding..tax reforms are two key elements in terms of the dollar's performance," said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 foreign exchange strategy at CIBC Capital Marketsin London.

"We have seen rate support for the dollar in terms of U.S. yields diminishing...so I think that's certainly limiting dollar gains and keeping the dollar index away from ... recent highs," he added.

Derek Halpenny at MUFG added further insight: "If the story is true that they're considering a delay of one year to the corporate tax cut,...big differences (among members of Congress) will need to be sorted, so we continue to be dubious on that proceeding."

With little in the way of macro announcements, technicals seemed to to be the play for the day on cable as the pair traded 0.57% lower to 1.3092, finding heavy resistance for the last 3 days at the 1.3175 area (23.6% retracement from the high seen on on the 20 September).

Should the downward trend continue, the pair is only 60 pips from support at 1.3024, the low seen on the 6 October.

"Sellers have exploited the unsettling combination of political uncertainty in the UK and lingering concerns over the Brexit negotiations to attack the British pound," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM in London.

The Bank of England (BoE) said in a report on Wednesday that: "Economic uncertainty was the biggest drag on investment plans," adding that, "Expectations about future trading arrangements and other factors related to the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, such as concerns around the future availability of overseas labour, were also reported to be restraining investment,"

Against the euro, sterling did not fair much better, slipping 0.62% to 1.1293. Data out from the Eurozone showed the French trade balance came in on expectations at -4.7 billion euros.

A panel of economic advisers to the German government said on Wednesday that the European Central Bank (ECB) should wind down it's asset purchase programme sooner rather than later and make their strategy for normalisation more clear.

The five-member German Council of Economic Experts who advise the German government on economic policy said the ECB's expansive monetary policy risks jeopardising financial stability and creating market volatility.

In the group's report, they stated: "In view of macro economic developments, the ECB should quickly reduce the purchases and end them earlier," also sugesting that the ECB should "significantly tighten its monetary policy to adapt to macro economic developments."

The group also touched on Brexit, stating, "The Council of Experts believes a one-off extension (of Brexit negotiations) that largely preserves the status quo would be sensible," adding, "This would also avoid an abrupt hard exit by the United Kingdom that would come with hard-to-judge but high economic costs for everyone involved."

The single currency was stuck trading a 15/20 pip ange on Wednesday, finding heavy resistance in the 1.1600 area and support at 1.1585 against the dollar.

The pair was relatvely flat on the day, falling only 0.02% to 1.1584.

Over in Asia, the Japanese yen traded 0.37% softer against it's US counterpart to 113.60 as US President Trump draws his Asia tour to a close.

The Australian dollar recoverd on Wednesday following dovish comments on the economy from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe yesterday, after the RBA decided to keep rates on hold at 1.5%.

AUD/USD saw heavy support in the 0.7638 area in the early evening on Tuesday, to trade trade 0.34% higher to 0.7672 on Wednesday by 1700 GMT.

The pair seems to have been unphased by data out from China that showed imports of crude oil, copper and iron ore fell in October from the previous month. China is Australia's No.1 trading partner.

"I think China's imports of iron ore will remain relatively low (for November and December) but maybe not as low as October," said Wang Di, Beijing-based consultant at CRU.

"Given the production cuts and the very high port stocks at the moment, I don't think there's very strong demand."

The Aussie's Antipodean cousin, the New Zealand dollar, traded 0.27% higher to 0.6921 as commodities ran into profit taking globally and dairy prices hit a seven-month low.

Market participants will be looking ahead to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's policy decision due at 2000 GMT where policy makers are expected to keep rates on hold at 1.75%.

"We think that the odds favour a positive NZD reaction, with the market seemingly short and the Bank expected to revise up its inflation forecasts," said Jason Wong, currency strategist at BNZ, in a note.

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