Dollar edges up but headed for biggest weekly fall since 2016

The dollar edged higher on Friday but remained on track for its biggest weekly decline in four years, as trillions of dollars worth of stimulus efforts by governments and central banks during the coronavirus epidemic helped temper a rout in global markets.

The dollar surged in March amid a drive for dollars by investors trying to get their hands on the world’s most liquid currency.

But big government spending pledges, including a $2.2 trillion U.S. package, and co-ordinated efforts by central banks around the world to increase the supply of dollars have supported a rally in other major currencies.

An unprecedented jump in U.S. jobless claims on Thursday underscored the coronavirus’s impact on the economy, further weakening the dollar.

The dollar gained 0.49% against a basket of currencies Friday. It is on course for around a 2.57% fall for the week – its biggest weekly decline since February 2016.

Currency markets have been volatile. Last week, the dollar index racked up its biggest weekly gain since the financial crisis.

“What we are seeing is abating stress in the money markets. Action by central banks has been successful so far and a shortage of dollars has been taken of the table,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank.

After this month’s large price swings investors are likely to be especially active in rebalancing their books for month- and quarter-end.

The Global Foreign Exchange Committee on Thursday warned that the coming few sessions could be volatile as market participants execute larger than normal trades as part of this process.

Against the yen, the dollar fell 0.71% on Friday to 108.80 yen, as Japanese investors and companies repatriated funds before their fiscal year ends next week.

The euro fell 0.66% against the greenback to $1.0955.

“Now that the surge in demand for dollars overseas has been met by the Fed’s new improved swap lines, economic and medical fundamentals are taking over,” Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss Group, said in a note on Friday.

Source: CNBC/Reuters

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