Forex – Dollar Gains Versus Yen, Swiss Franc; Sterling Weakens

The dollar traded marginally higher Tuesday, helped by gains against the more defensive currencies, the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc, on the last trading day of the month.

At 3:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, stood at 99.597, up 0.3%. 

USD/JPY gained 0.6% to 108.50, USD/CHF rose 0.5% to 0.9629, while EUR/USD fell 0.4% to 1.1005.

“The talk is Japanese names are short of dollars (as the fiscal year comes to an end), which is likely to keep the dollar bid well into London time,” Yukio Ishizuki, FX strategist at Daiwa Securities, told CNBC.

That said, the yen and the Swiss franc are often seen as safe havens during troubled times, and the better-than-expected China manufacturing PMI data will have given traders hope that some economic stabilisation may be possible going forward.

Global risk stabilisation near term supports EUR/USD at 1.10-1.12 for now, said analysts at Danske Bank, in a research note. 

“Looking further ahead, a range of factors (EU institutional weakness, doubt as to Fed’s reaction function 12M out and virus fears) also still make downside risks more pertinent, such that 1.07 will likely act as an anchor, the bank added.

Additionally, GBP/USD dropped 1% to 1.2292, as the Fitch downgrading of U.K.’s sovereign debt rating on Friday continued to takr its toll on sterling.

Elsewhere, the forint is lower, with EUR/HUF up 0.2% at 359.13, having hit a new all-time high on Tuesday after the Hungarian Parliament voted Monday to give Prime Minister Viktor Orban the right to rule by decree during the coronavirus emergency – with no time limit. The measures establish a dictatorship in all but name in the heart of the EU, which has long prided itself on its role in fostering democracy in Europe.

This move “does have the potential to amplify the already ongoing disagreements between Hungary and the EU,” said Danske Bank, in a research note. 

“As such, these somewhat right-wing initiatives did lend support to EUR/HUF yesterday and more HUF weakness could come at a later point in time as a result,” the bank added.

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