Dollar surges on global jitters, Wall Street up ahead of consumer data

  • U.S. dollar hits more than one-month high
  • Wall Street shakes early sell-off, posts midday gains
  • Property woes see China shares skid before data
  • Primary result hurts Argentine assets

WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar hit a more than one-month high on Monday as a safe haven for investors wary of China’s economy and other global turmoil, and Wall Street swung higher ahead of fresh data on consumer appetite.

The dollar index (.DXY), which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, was last up 0.19% at 103.04, after hitting its highest level since July 7.

The dollar surged on news that China’s new bank loans tumbled in July even as policymakers cut interest rates. Investors also feared that trouble at the nation’s largest private property developer, Country Garden (2007.HK), could have a chilling effect on home buyers and financial institutions.

Country Garden’s shares plunged 18% to a record low on Monday after its onshore bonds were suspended for the first time.

The three major U.S. indices wavered in choppy trading, reversing course after beginning with modest losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 0.04% shortly after midday, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 0.44% and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 0.76%.

The session began in the shadow of last week’s global equity sell-off, with the MSCI world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS), which tracks shares in 45 nations, last down 0.11%.

“We reckon that markets still underestimate the aftermath of the significant collapse in China’s property sector,” said Nomura analysts in a note.

Surprises elsewhere in the world also whetted the appetite for safe havens and a measured outlook. In Argentina, voters surprised the two main political forces in a Sunday primary election, opting instead to push a radical libertarian outsider candidate into first place, and pressuring the country’s bonds.

In the aftermath, the country’s central bank planned to hike interest rates by 21 percentage points to 118% and devalued the nation’s currency until the nation’s formal October election.

The safe haven appetite drove up yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds to a nine-month high. Benchmark 10-year yields hit 4.215%, the highest since Nov. 8, before falling back to 4.150%.

Gains for the dollar and U.S. Treasuries weighed on gold prices, which dipped to a more than one-month low Monday. Spot gold prices were last down 0.12%, to $1,911.10 an ounce.

On this week’s data docket are British inflation and jobs and U.S. retail sales which are forecast to show a 0.4% pickup in spending, with could swing higher thanks in part to Amazon’s Prime Day. U.S. retail giants are also due for quarterly reports this week.

A strong spending report could challenge the market’s benign outlook for U.S. rates, with futures implying a 70% chance the Federal Reserve is done hiking in its bid to tame inflation. The market also has more than 120 basis points of cuts priced in for next year starting from around March.

Oil dipped as concerns about China’s faltering economic recovery and a stronger dollar offset seven weeks of gains on tightening supply from OPEC+ output cuts.

Brent crude was down 1.01% at $85.93 a barrel, while U.S. crude was down 1.15% at $82.25.

Reporting by Wayne Cole, Alun John and Pete Schroeder;
Editing by Christina Fincher, Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Covers financial regulation and policy out of the Reuters Washington bureau, with a specific focus on banking regulators. Has covered economic and financial policy in the U.S. capital for 15 years. Previous experience includes roles at The Hill newspaper and The Wall Street Journal. Received a Master’s degree in journalism from Georgetown University, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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