The US dollar rebounded against its major counterparts today after having tumbled sharply in the past two days due to political turmoil surrounding US President Donald Trump. The aussie jumped on forecast-beating Australian jobs data, while the yen showed little reaction to stronger Japanese GDP numbers.
The dollar index hovered near six-month lows below 98 points as investors feared that Trump’s latest controversies could lead to a delay in passing legislation on pro-growth policies and tax reforms.
The dollar touched a low of 110.52 yen early in Asia before bouncing to 111.41 later in the session. The yen was not hugely impacted by GDP data out of Japan today that showed the economy grew an annualized 2.2% in the first quarter, beating forecasts of a 1.7% rise. Markets chose to focus on the GDP deflator number which fell deeper into negative territory, highlighting that deflationary pressure still exists in Japan.
Other data released during the Asian session today showed an improving Australian labour market, where 37,400 jobs were added in April. This number was much higher than the 5,000-gain expected by economists, although it was down from a revised 60,000 jobs added the previous month. The unemployment rate fell to 5.7% from 5.9% in March, beating expectations it would remain flat. The aussie reacted positively to the data and climbed against the greenback to a session high of $0.7466, rising off a low of $0.7407.
In other currencies, the euro hit a fresh six-month high of $1.1171 during the session before the rally faded and prices turned lower. The broadly weaker dollar is helping underpin the single currency, while upbeat Eurozone economic data and abating political risk in the region are also providing added support. Meanwhile, yesterday’s encouraging Eurozone inflation data could fuel speculation that the ECB would begin to consider tapering its stimulus program relatively soon.
In commodities, WTI oil pulled back slightly after Wednesday’s rise to $49.47 a barrel, to trade just below the $49 mark in Asia.
Gold hit an early session high of $1,263 an ounce before easing slightly. The precious metal is being supported by a weaker dollar and elevated risk aversion in the markets.
Looking ahead to the rest of the day, UK retail sales numbers will be closely watched, while jobless claims data and the Philly Fed manufacturing index are due to be released out of the US. ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to speak later in the day.