London: Critical comments by US President Donald Trump about the country’s central bank held back some stocks on Tuesday, while the dollar fell for the fourth consecutive day in its worst spell since March.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said late on Monday he was “not thrilled" with the Federal Reserve under his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates and said the Fed should do more to help him to boost the economy.
American presidents have rarely criticised the Fed in recent decades because its independence has been seen as important for economic stability. “The Fed is independent in setting monetary policy and markets were spooked by yet another comment from Donald Trump criticising higher interest rates," said Artjom Hatsaturjants, an analyst at Accendo Markets.
The dollar index, which tracks performance against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.35% on Tuesday. It has now fallen 1.2% in the last four days, its worst such run since late March.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.2% in early trade on Tuesday, with export-led UK stocks underperforming. The FTSE 100, which derives a large portion of its revenues in the United States and so benefits from dollar strength, was flat.
The dollar’s weakness took the pressure off many emerging market currencies, that have struggled in recent weeks as worries over Turkey precipitated a sell-off across the globe. The Chinese yuan rose by 0.25% to 6.839 per dollar. The currency was on track for its fourth session of gains, pulling further away from 6.934, its weakest since January 2017 marked last week.
The yuan had weakened to a 19-month low against the dollar earlier this month amid concerns over the country’s economic growth, Sino-US trade war worries and a broad rally by the dollar.
In his interview, Trump also accused China of manipulating its currency and said there was little hope of progress in the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries in talks due this week.
Other emerging currencies, including the South African rand, Thai baht, Mexican peso, Hungarian forint, Polish zloty and the rupee, were all higher by 0.2 to 0.8% against the dollar.
Commodities that are priced in dollars and so benefit from any weakness were also higher across the board. Base metals prices rose, with London copper climbing for a second day and crossing the $6,000-a-tonne mark, while spot gold rose 0.28% to $1,193. Brent crude oil rose 0.12% to $72.35 per barrel.