Dollar holds near three-week high as bets on sharp U.S. rate cut drop

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Dollar held near three weeks high in early trading on Monday, holding on to its gains after last week’s strong U.S. jobs data lowered expectations for a sharp Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

Elsewhere, the Turkish lira fell sharply after President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the Central Bank Governor, sparking worries about the bank’s independence.

U.S. non-farm payrolls rebounded in June to 224,000, the most in five months, data showed on Friday, beating economists’ consensus estimate of 160,000.

The solid outcome virtually wipes out chances for a half-point Fed rate cut at the end of July.

The modest wage gains and other data showing the world’s largest economy was losing steam could still encourage the central bank to cut rates by 25 basis points.

“We still expect the Fed to deliver a 25 basis point rate cut this month.

“The underlying trend for employment growth is still weakening,’’ MUFG analysts wrote in a research note.

“Nevertheless, the U.S. dollar should continue to trade on a firmer footing in the near term given downside risks from a larger rate cut have diminished.’’

The dollar index stood at 97.229 .DXY in early London trading, below the near three weeks high of 97.443 it hit on Friday.

The greenback’s rebound follows a period of weakness as mounting expectations for Fed rate cuts weighed on the currency.

The euro, which dropped to $1.1208 EUR=EBS on Friday, traded at $1.1225, unchanged on the day.

The common currency came under pressure on Friday after data showed that German industrial orders fell far more than expected in May.

Traders’ focus quickly shifted to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s Congressional testimony, due on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as U.S. inflation data out later this week.

The British pound hit a six month low to the dollar on Friday, after poor economic data and a rise in expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates.

It was last quoted at $1.2513 GBP=D3, down 0.2 per cent on the day.

The Turkish lira slid to as low as 5.8245 to the dollar TRYTOM=D3, its lowest in two weeks, in early Asian trade.

It last stood at 5.735, down 1.8 per cent on the day.

“Some naive market participants might still hope that the new central bank governor will come across as being independent in a statement announced for this week and at least does not cut interest rates right away,’’ Commerzbank analysts said.

“That may be the case but does not change the fact that medium-term sensible Turkish monetary policy will not be possible.’’

In a written statement on Saturday, new governor, Murat Uysal, said he would implement monetary policy instruments independently with a focus on achieving and maintaining the primary objective of price stability.

The Japanese currency JPY=EBSstrengthened 0.1 per cent to 108.34 yen per dollar, above three-week lows of 108.64 yen.

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