Dollar rally falters

December 9, 2015 11:24 AM

The dollar fell on Wednesday as commodity currencies reversed steep losses from Tuesday as oil recovered, while the euro rose as investors shifted back into the single currency.

Oil edged up modestly on Wednesday, helping the Canadian dollar and Norwegian crown regain some footing after touching 11- and 13-year lows respectively against the dollar on Tuesday.

The crown added one percent against the dollar to 8.6785 crowns per dollar, and the loonie gained 0.35% to move to C$1.3536. Those currencies have been under pressure as oil prices have fallen dramatically; both countries' economies rely on the oil and gas industries.

The euro and yen both hit one-month highs vs. the dollar as traders reversed course on the bullish trend that pushed the greenback to multi-month highs against both currencies before the recent European Central Bank meeting interrupted that trend.

The ECB announced on Thursday it would cut its already negative deposit rate further, but said it would not add to its quantitative easing program, disappointing investors. The move sent the euro up 3.1% on the day, its biggest one-day percentage climb since March 2009.

Since then, the dollar has recovered, in anticipation that the recent trend of dollar strength would reassert itself. In the weeks leading up to the ECB meeting, speculators had increased long positions on the U.S. dollar to their highest in eight months, according to Reuters calculations and data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

While the ECB announcement reversed the dollar rally, analysts still expect the greenback to rise in the coming weeks.

Charles St-Arnaud, senior strategist and economist at Nomura Securities in London, said Wednesday's moves in the euro and yen were likely driven by investors acting cautiously ahead of the Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting on Dec. 15-16, when the Fed is widely expected to start raising interest rates.

"There's no real fundamental (change)," he said. "So most investors would probably continue thinking that the euro should be trending lower, especially with the (expected) Fed hike next week."

The euro rose as high as $1.0989, its highest since a surprisingly robust U.S. jobs report on Nov. 6 pushed the continental currency and major rivals down against the dollar. The euro was last up 0.55% to $1.0953.

The dollar fell below 122 yen per dollar for the first time since Nov. 6. It was last down 0.6% to 122.15 yen.

About the Author