Dollar Up, But Ends Week Almost Back Where It Started

The dollar was up on Friday morning in Asia but was set to end the week not far from where it started. Investors took stock at the end of a volatile week in which currencies gyrated due to ever-changing risk appetite levels.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.05% to 92.880 by 12:37 AM ET (4:37 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair inched up 0.10% to 110.25. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday, with the Tokyo Olympics due to open later in the day.

The AUD/USD pair inched down 0.01% to 0.7377 and the NZD/USD pair was up 0.21% to 0.6978.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.04% to 6.4722 and the GBP/USD pair inched down 0.01% to 0.3761. The pound

The greenback is for a weekly gain of 0.1% but made very small moves overnight. It was, however, down from the three-and-a-half-month high of 93.194 hit on Wednesday as investors regained some of the confidence lost as the number of COVID-19 cases involving the Delta variant rose globally.

Investors also digested the European Central Bank (ECB)’s policy decision handed down on Thursday. The ECB pledged to maintain its dovish monetary policy, as widely expected, and the euro was 0.2% lower over the period at $1.1779 after the decision. Bank Indonesia also handed down its policy decision on Thursday.

The uptrend in the dollar index is "showing tentative signs" of stalling around 93.0, "but its overall resilience regardless of the shifting risk mood and the ECB's shift to a more structurally dovish policy stance suggest retracements will likely be limited to the 91.5-92.0 zone," Westpac analysts said in a note.

Investors now await the U.S Federal Reserve’s meeting in the following week.

"The U.S. is better positioned than others to withstand the spread of the delta variant thanks to its earlier strong vaccination drive,” the note added.

Back in the Asia-Pacific region, the riskier Australian dollar headed for a 0.2% fall, which would be a fourth consecutive weekly decline. Australia tightened its current lockdown in Sydney as the city reported its biggest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases in 2021 and prompted speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia could increase stimulus rather than decreasing it when it next meets.

"The balance of risks point to more weakness in the Australian dollar in the near term," Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) strategist Joseph Capurso said in his own note.

Across the Tasman Sea, the record number of cases in Sydney prompted New Zealand to pause its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia for at least eight weeks starting later in the day, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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