LONDON (Reuters) – The euro climbed across the board on Thursday and the Japanese yen was on track to post its biggest daily rise this year as investors dumped risky positions in currency markets in a broad-based unwinding by some hedge funds.
A weakness in mega cap U.S. technology stocks after the release of the Fed minutes widened to a broader selloff in Asian stocks and renewed demand for the safe-haven appeal of government debt and safe-haven currencies. [GLOB/MKTS]
While the dollar initially rose in early London trading, the euro jumped across the board as the selloff gathered pace as some hedge funds unwound some of their large bets against the single currency versus some other majors.
Against the dollar, the euro climbed 0.4% to $1.1838 while it strengthened 0.6% against the British pound to 85.98 pence.
“This is a classic unwind of risky positions in currency markets with yield chasing trades reversing and flows reversing from current account deficit countries to surplus nations,” said a trader at a U.S. bank in London.
While minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting confirming it was moving towards tapering its asset purchases as soon as this year were widely blamed for the selloff, some traders saw an extension of the unwinding of the reflation theme seen in the global bond markets this week.
“The risk off theme is clear across all markets, especially in currencies with the strongest risk DNAs including the Aussie, Canadian dollar and the Kiwi,” said John Marley, CEO of forexxtra, a London-based FX consultancy.
“This feels very much as though this is a washout of positions which could have some real potential in a market which has already felt very thin this week,” he said.
The Aussie fell 0.8% to $0.7420, its weakest level since mid-December. The safe-haven yen jumped 0.8% to 109.8, on track for its biggest single day rise since early November 2020.
The dollar index =USD, which measures the greenback against six rivals, fell 0.2% to 92.54 from Wednesday, when it touched 92.844 for the first time since April 5.
A Reuters poll expects the Fed to announce a strategy in August or September for tapering its asset purchases. While most predict the first cut to its bond-buying program will begin early next year, about a third of respondents forecast it will happen in the final quarter of this year.
ECB President Christine Lagarde will hold a news conference after the monetary authority announces the outcome of an 18-month strategy review, which is likely to include a shift in the inflation target to 2% from “below but close to 2%” currently – which would theoretically allow for inflation overshoots.
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