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Dollar edges lower, with traders glued to U.S.-China trade rhetoric

Anneken Tappe

Mexican peso and Russian ruble get whacked


Developed market currencies including the U.S. dollar started the week on a more subdued note, as traders awaited further trade-related headlines, midweek data and more trading action in emerging markets currencies.

What are currencies doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index (IFUS:DX-Y.NYB), a gauge of the dollar against six rivals, was 0.1% lower at 90.002 on Monday, after slipping slightly last week. The broader WSJ U.S. Dollar Index (CALCULATED:BUXX) was 0.1% stronger at 84.04.

Versus the Japanese yen (USDJPY)(JPY), the dollar was stronger, fetching ¥106.98 from ¥106.92 late Friday in New York.

The euro (EURUSD) rose to $1.2305 from $1.2283, while the British pound (GBPUSD) climbed to $1.4130, from $1.4089.

Mexico’s peso (USDMXN)(MXN) was weaker, as one dollar fetched 18.3918 pesos versus 18.2939 late Friday.

Elsewhere, the Russian ruble (USDRUB)(RUB) got whacked, and the dollar soared to its highest since November against it, buying 60.254, up more than 3% from 58.094 late Friday in New York.

What is moving the market?

Currency trading kicked the week off on a subdued note as market participants await the next bout of trade policy-related headlines that could cause pairs to move into one direction or another.

The Russian ruble fell of a cliff following new U.S. sanctions against Russia and comments from President Donald Trump blaming Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s backing of the Assad regime for a suspected chemical attack in Syria. Also notably weaker was the Mexican peso, which struggled with disappointing progress in talks surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement, the latest round of which kicked off over the weekend.

The economic calendar is empty for the day, before inflation figures, minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting, and budget numbers will dominate the calendar on Wednesday.

Check out:MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

What are strategists saying?

“Trade tensions remains front and center as we enter Monday’s North American session as market participants assess the implications of disappointing progress on the Nafta front and fresh China/trade tweets from President Trump,” wrote Scotiabank strategists Shaun Osborne and Eric Theoret in their morning note.

“The market tone is showing some signs of improvement however, with notable gains across Asian and European equity indexes as well as U.S. equity futures,” Osborne and Theoret said.


Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (YMM18.CBT) and the S&P 500 (ESM18.CME) gained ground on Monday morning, indicating a higher market open.

Anneken Tappe is a markets reporter for MarketWatch. She is based in New York.

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