U.S. retail sales set for worst week since March 2020

181
3
U.S. retail sales set for worst week since March 2020

The U.S. retail sales on Friday was to be the next test for dollar value for retailers as consumers.

Bitcoin hits $60,000 as traders look closely at first U.S. ETFs.

LONDON, Oct 15 Reuters - The Japanese yen shot to a three-year low on Friday and was set for its worst week since March 2020, while the dollar headed for its first weekly decline after the end of last month versus major peers.

The price of bitcoin exceeded $60,000 in the cryptocurrency markets, for the first time in six months and was not far from its record high on bets U.S. regulators will approve a bitcoin futures exchange traded fund.

The dollar index slipped 0.1% to 93.9 and was down 0.2% for the week in what would be its first weekly loss in six weeks. The greenback tends to rise when investors seek safety.

Global stocks have rallied this week as fears about a stagflationary economy have been eased by forecast-beating global earnings in the United States.

The Japanese yen was the biggest loser, dropping to as low as 114.4 yen per dollar, its weakest since October 2018. The yen is a safe-haven currency and has been affected by the rebound in sentiment, including in Asia.

The dollar was last 1.5% higher at 114.31 yen - - that brought week-to-day gains for the greenback of 1.9% in what would mark the worst week for the yen since March 2020.

Analysts said investors who were long in dollars had been squeezed out of their positions in the past few days and inflation data did not support a further growth in the currency.

The lack of any upside surprise in U.S. CPI consumer price inflation data and confirmation of existing expectations on Fed tapering in minutes provided no catalyst for additional USD buying and hence the sell-off, said MUFG analyst Derek Halpenny.

The greenback had rallied since early September on expectations that the U.S. central bank would tighten monetary policy more quickly than previously expected amid an improving economy and surging energy prices.

Minutes from the Sept. meeting confirmed this week that a tapering of stimulus is all but certain to start this year, although policymakers are sharply divided over inflation and what they should do about it.

Money markets are currently measuring in about 50 50 odds of a 25 basis-point hike in July.

The next gauge for the U.S. economy's health comes later on Friday with the release of retail sales figures.

The euro gained 0.1% to $1.1611 after touching $1.1624 on Thursday for the first time since Sept 4.

Sterling rose 0.5% to $1.3741, following the climb to the highest since September 24 at $1.3734 overnight.

The risk - sensitive Australian dollar added 0.2% to $0.7428 before the gains fizzled.

The New Zealand's kiwi dollar jumped 0.4% to as high as $0.7065, extending Thursday's 1% surge.