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19 August 21

Dollar hits 9-month high as Fed on track to taper this year

The dollar rose to a nine-month high against its major peers on Thursday, on expectations that the Federal Reserve will start tapering its huge stimulus this year.

The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against six rivals, climbed as high as 93.502, its strongest since Nov. 5, before trading 0.26% higher at 93.464.

The euro fell as low as $1.16655 for the first time since Nov. 4, while the Aussie sank to $0.7198, a level not seen since Nov. 5, and the kiwi slid to $0.68465, the weakest since Nov. 13.

The greenback rose as high as 110.225 yen.

In minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s July 27-28 meeting released on Wednesday, Fed officials saw the potential to ease bond-buying stimulus this year if the economy continues to improve as expected, although the condition of “substantial further progress” toward maximum employment had not yet been met.

Oil prices in longest losing streak since February 2020

Oil prices fell for a sixth day in their longest losing streak since February 2020, as a spike in COVID-19 cases worldwide fuelled fears of lower fuel demand while a surprise build in U.S. gasoline inventories and a stronger dollar added to the pressure.

Brent crude was down $1.11, or 1.6%, at $67.12 a barrel at 0639 GMT, after touching the lowest since May 24 at $67.06 earlier in the session.

U.S. West Intermediate crude (WTI) fell $1.35, or 2.1%, to $64.11 a barrel after falling to as low as $64.02, also the lowest since May 24.

WTI has dropped more than 7% while Brent has slumped more than 6% during the six-day losing streak, the longest since a six-day decline for both contracts that ended on Feb. 28, 2020.

The declines reflect worries over rising coronavirus infections caused by its Delta variant, with virus-related deaths in the United States, the world’s largest oil user, spiking over the past month.

Gold Down as Possibility of Fed Taper Boosts Dollar

Gold was down on Thursday morning in Asia, with the dollar strengthening after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted that it could begin asset tapering as soon as 2021 in the minutes from its latest meeting.

Gold futures were down 0.25% to $1,780 by 12:49 PM ET (4:49 AM GMT), set for their biggest one-day percentage decline since Aug. 9. The dollar, which normally moves inversely to gold, was up on Thursday as it surpassed a nine-month peak.

The minutes from the Fed’s July meeting, released on Wednesday, said that officials saw the potential to begin asset tapering in 2021 providing that the economic recovery remains within expectations.

Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia will hand down its policy decision later in the day.

“Gold lost a little bit of upside momentum as investors increasingly grew wary of the risk that the Fed could start asset tapering by the end of 2021,” IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda told Reuters.

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