Dollar Soft As Traders Look To Jackson Hole For Taper Clues

The dollar held near a one-week low on Thursday with investors eyeing the Fed's Jackson Hole symposium for clues on the timing of a tapering of monetary stimulus.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against six rivals, edged up 0.08% to 92.891, but still close to Thursday's low of 92.801, a level not seen since Aug. 17.

The greenback has softened since Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, among the U.S. central bank's most forceful advocates for starting to reduce support for the economy, said last Friday that he may need to adjust that view if the coronavirus slows economic growth materially.

At the same time, demand for the dollar as a haven waned as investor optimism rose that the Delta coronavirus variant won't derail a global recovery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech on Monday, with others to follow shortly, in a move that could accelerate U.S. inoculations.

U.S. yields rose overnight, with that on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note hitting 1.352% for the first time since Aug. 13.

The dollar ticked up 0.15% to 110.16 yen, another safe haven currency, meandering near the centre of its trading range since early July.

Against the euro, the dollar was little changed at $1.1771, after touching a one-week low of $1.1775 the previous day.

Before Kaplan's comments, Fed officials had been signalling that a taper this year was most likely, helping buoy the dollar index to a 9-1/2 month high of 93.734 last Friday.

The focus at this Friday's symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming will be Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech, which will be parsed for clues on the timing and pace of tapering of monetary stimulus.

Still, many market watchers say the dollar has yet to peak.

"I don’t think Powell or anyone else at the Fed is going to be too aggressive in their language about tapering any more," said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets. "The dollar keeps moving higher, in my opinion just on the basis that sooner or later the Fed is going to taper."

Some analysts even suggest a delay itself could strengthen the dollar.

"While this would be a USD negative factor on one hand, Delta worries may simultaneously increase the safe-haven appeal for the USD," Jane Foley, a strategist at Rabobank, wrote in a research note.

"While pullbacks are likely to be par for the course, we see scope for EUR/USD to head towards $1.16 on a six-month view." TOKYO (Reuters)

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