Dollar slides as market looks ahead to US stimulus; sterling drops

U.S. dollar banknotes.

Liu Jie | Xinhua via Getty

The dollar fell against most currencies on Monday in choppy trading, as investors looked past the surge in coronavirus cases and ahead to a possible new COVID-19 U.S. stimulus deal and vaccines to fight the virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported more than 280,000 deaths.
Sterling, meanwhile, slumped after Britain and the European Union said on Monday conditions for a Brexit trade deal were “not there.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Monday said talks on another round of stimulus funding to deal with the deadly coronavirus pandemic are moving in the right direction, and President ’s administration and Congress are getting closer to agreement.

Negotiations on a relief deal gathered momentum in the U.S. Congress on Friday, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers worked to put the finishing touches on a $908 billion stimulus plan.

“The market expects a stimulus deal to eventually arrive along with the vaccine and those are seen as putting the U.S. recovery at a faster and more sustainable path,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst, at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington. “That’s negative for the dollar.”

In addition, the Federal Reserve is expected to make more adjustments to its quantitative easing later this month.

“The question for most is whether this is just the beginning of the U.S. dollar slide and whether the theme has more juice,” said Mark McCormick, global head of FX strategy at TD Securities in Toronto. “As we noted in our 2021 global outlook, the U.S. dollar is likely to slide through the course of 2021. Yet, it’s unlikely to be a straight line. U.S. dollar cycles tend to last six years on average, and this one is just getting started,” he added.

The dollar fell 0.2% against the Japanese currency to 104 yen, sliding as well versus the Swiss franc to 0.89 franc, also down 0.2%.

The greenback also fell against commodity currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars as well as the Norwegian crown.

An index that tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies was little changed at 90.795, not far from 90.471, its weakest since April 2018. The British pound came off steep lows and was down 0.7% at $1.3349, falling 0.7% as well versus the euro, which last traded up at 90.66 pence.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister said in a joint statement on Monday that sealing a new trade deal was impossible now “due to remaining differences on critical issues”.

But Johnson will go to Brussels in coming days in an attempt to bridge significant differences in Brexit talks over level playing field, governance and fisheries.

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