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The dollar drifted lower in Asia on Friday as an agreement on U.S. infrastructure spending underpinned appetite for riskier currencies, but caution ahead of key U.S. inflation data kept losses to a minimum.
The risk-sensitive Antipodean currencies rose very slightly, while the euro gained 0.1% to $1.1940 and the yen rose by about the same margin to 110.80 per dollar.
Such small moves left most of the dollar’s recent gains intact, after it was vaulted higher in the wake of a surprise shift in policy outlook from the Federal Reserve – which last week flagged sooner-than-expected interest rate rises.
Inflation data due later on Friday will offer the latest indication of how much pressure the Fed is under to move, as will labour market figures due in a week’s time – leaving traders unwilling to sell the dollar too hard just in case it bounces again soon.
The S&P 500 added to gains to climb to a fresh record Thursday led by surge in cyclical stocks after President Joe Biden announced nearly $600 billion deal on infrastructure, paving the way for fresh investment in roads, bridges and broadband internet.
The S&P 500 rose 0.60% to record intraday high of 4,267.71.20 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.94%, or 319 points, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.7% having hit an all-time high of 14,414.5 intraday.
“We have a deal,” Biden told reporters Thursday. “I think it’s really important we’ve all agreed that none of us got all that we wanted.”
The deal didn’t include the more ambitious initiatives including spending to expand child care and was much lower than the $2.3 trillion package touted by Biden earlier this year. The plan will have to move forward alongside a much larger package — expected to be funded by tax hikes — that would focus spending on “human infrastructure.” But there is not much wiggle room to get the proposed larger infrastructure package passed in Congress where Democrats hold a slender majority.
The upgrade to critical infrastructure is widely expected to boost productivity and ultimately economic growth.
Gold was up on Friday morning in Asia as investors digested mixed signals from U.S. Federal Reserve officials on interest rate hikes earlier this week, while awaiting U.S. inflation data due later in the day.
Gold Futures inched up 0.06% to $1,777.70 by 12:27 AM ET (4:27 AM GMT). The dollar, which usually moves inversely to gold, inched down on Friday but hovered below a two-month high of 92.408 reached in the previous week.
Two Fed officials predicted on Thursday that inflation could rise more than expected in the short term. However, other Fed policymakers said the U.S. economy is rebounding from the decline in 2020, but the labor market still needs to improve.
The U.S. economic growth “has come roaring back… but even as GDP has almost entirely recouped its losses from last year, employment remains down significantly,” said Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker.
“We really need an economy that works for everyone,” Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic added.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden reached a deal with a bipartisan group of senators to provide $579 billion in infrastructure investments, which boosted investor sentiment.
On the data front, 411,000 filed for initial jobless claims in the U.S. during the previous week as the labor market is steadily rebounding from COVID-19 thanks to a reopening economy. Forecasts prepared by Investing.com predicted 380,000 claims, while 418,000 claims were filed during the previous week.
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