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The dollar was supported on Thursday as doubts over the global economy’s strength subdued risk sentiment, while the euro steadied ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day that is expected result in a reduction in stimulus.
The dollar index remained flat at 92.664, after three consecutive days of rises.
And U.S. stocks to stepped back overnight from their high valuations as investors worried about the combination of slowing global growth, due in part to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, and the potential tapering of central bank stimulus. [GLOB/MKTS]
“One big difference versus Q4 or Q1 is that the range of economic and inflation consequences is much wider given the uncertainties on how COVID and inflation evolve,” said Steve Englander, head of global FX Research at Standard Chartered (OTC:SCBFF) Bank’s New York Branch.
“Investors may be quick to bail out of risk, if it looks like one of these tail risks is becoming more prominent,” he added.
The euro steadied to around $1.1819, following a three-day retreat from Friday’s two-month high of $1.1909.
Asian shares were set for their worst day in two weeks on Thursday, weighed down by the latest regulatory crackdown in China and global investors worries’ about a looming reduction in central bank stimulus, while the dollar held firm.
European shares looked set to follow suit, with FTSE futures off 0.65% and pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures down 0.8%, in early trading ahead of a closely watched announcement from a meeting of the European Central Bank.
Analysts anticipate the ECB will announce a token step towards reducing its emergency economic support.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last down 1.26%, which would be its worst daily performance since Aug. 19, the last time markets decided they were worried about the U.S. Federal Reserve tapering its massive asset purchase programme.
U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were down 0.45%.
Gold was down on Thursday morning in Asia, remaining near two-week lows. A strengthening dollar Index Futures contributed to the yellow metal’s losses, while investors also await the European Central Bank (ECB)’s latest policy decision.
Gold futures were down 0.21% to $1,789.75 by 12:18 AM ET (4:18 AM GMT) after hitting $1,781.30, its lowest level since Aug. 26, during the previous session. The dollar, which usually moves inversely to gold, inched up on Thursday.
The ECB will hand down its policy decision later in the day, where it is widely expected to begin asset tapering while keeping support steady in the years to follow.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada kept its interest steady at 0.25% as it handed down its policy decision on Wednesday.
Investor focus is now on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin asset tapering within the year after a disappointing U.S. jobs report released during the previous week. The ever-rising number of COVID-19 daily cases and deaths in the country also continues to be of concern.
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