Tokyo: The yen and dollar gave back early gains on Wednesday as volatile Chinese shares edged up and crude trimmed its losses, helping higher-yielding and commodity-linked currencies back from the day’s lows.
Ranges were narrow with activity still low due to the holiday period in parts of the northern hemisphere, but sterling hovered close to a 2-month low against the euro set the day before.
Higher yielding and commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar have gained and lost ground with volatile Shanghai shares recently, with many eyes on China to help pull the global economy out of recession.
Traders said the market was still watching Shanghai but also wanting to see more US data to follow on from larger-than-expected gains in housing and consumer confidence readings on Tuesday to support the view that the economy is on the mend.
“The footing of the US economy is not so negative but investors are cautious about taking it as a trading factor because its private consumption and jobs market remain weak,” said Kosuke Hanao, head of Treasury products sales at HSBC.
The dollar index, a gauge of its performance against six major currencies, was steady at 78.300.
Against the yen, the dollar slipped 0.1% from late US trade on Tuesday to 94.04 yen.
The market showed limited reaction to Japan’s trade data. Exports fell 1.3% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis from June, the first decline in two months, in a possible sign that the impact of stimulus measures in major economies worldwide is starting to wane.
The euro was unchanged from late New York levels at 134.59 yen after dipping to 134.10 in early trade. It was also flat at $1.4305 after slipping to $1.4280 earlier.
The Australian dollar edged up 0.1% to 78.65 yen after slipping as far as 78.24 early on in the wake of a sharp drop in crude oil prices on Tuesday.
It also inched up 0.2% to $0.8364 after starting the session in the red.
Shanghai shares rose more than 1% after opening down, while Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 1.4%.
A government researcher said China’s economic growth may exceed 10% in the first quarter of next year, with monetary policy likely to remain loose in the near term to support the recovery.
Sterling was down 0.1% at $1.6324 and fell 0.2% to 153.56 yen after dipping to its lowest in a month around 153.10 yen. It hovered close to Tuesday’s low of 87.66 pence per euro after interest rate and bond spreads moved against it.
In the United States, new home sales and durable goods orders for July are due on Wednesday.
Fed futures are pricing in chances of an interest rate hike in March with a quarter-percentage point hike factored in May. Many analysts believe that pricing is a bit too aggressive, given downside risks to the economy from rising unemployment and sluggish consumer spending.
“We expect the US dollar to trade below 80 on the basket of currencies, until the Fed signals its intentions to raise rates,” said Joseph Capurso, currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank.
Also due is a $39 billion five-year note auction. Tuesday’s $42 billion sale of two-year notes drew a decent response from both foreign and institutional investors.
Auctions are being closely watched in the currency market as they highlight the vulnerability of the US government’s finances and how its huge borrowings will be financed.
Government forecasts on Tuesday showed that the US national debt could nearly double over the next 10 years and approach $20 trillion.