Dollar recovers lost ground; Aussie slips after RBA holds rates By Reuters

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© Reuters. U.S. Dollar and Chinese Yuan banknotes are seen in this illustration picture taken June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

By Rae Wee

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -The U.S. dollar regained some ground on Tuesday and hovered near a one-week high against a basket of currencies, while the Australian dollar fell after its central bank left interest rates unchanged.

The was last down 0.66% to $0.6576 after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept rates at a 12-year high of 4.35% on Tuesday, as expected, and noted that economic data received since November had been broadly in line with expectations.

That left the Antipodean currency some distance away from Monday’s four-month top of $0.6690, which it hit on the back of the dollar’s decline over the past few sessions.

“The Aussie has had a great run in recent weeks and was arguably overbought over the near-term,” said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index.

“So we may be seeing a combination of profit taking following the fact of the RBA’s hold, and the closure of pre-emptive bets that the RBA may have delivered a more hawkish statement.”

The decline in the Aussie also dragged the New Zealand dollar slightly lower, with the last down 0.35% to $0.6146.

Elsewhere, the greenback held broadly steady and pushed away from Monday’s three-month low against the yen. The dollar last traded at 147.10 yen, helped by a slowdown in core consumer inflation in Tokyo that put downward pressure on the Japanese currency.

The euro, meanwhile, languished near a three-week low hit on Monday and last traded $1.0842, while the stood near a more than one-week high and was last at 103.60.

Sterling was little changed at $1.26345, some distance away from its recent three-month high.

Analysts say the greenback’s move higher was in part due to a reversal of its heavy selloff in recent weeks, which saw the dollar index falling some 3% in November, its steepest monthly decline in a year.

“I think it’s maybe just a little bit of a reassessment as to the U.S. dollar having fallen too far, and too fast,” said Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist at Westpac.

U.S. economic indicators this week, including November’s non-manufacturing ISM figures and the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report, will provide further clarity on the future path of interest rates.

Traders have all but priced in a rate cut from the Federal Reserve by the first half of next year.

“The Fed will be reactive to the hard data and not anticipatory of it,” said Thierry Wizman, Macquarie’s global FX and interest rates strategist. “So as long as the activity data deteriorates and inflation retreats, convergence toward lower yields will resume.”

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin last stood at $41,806, not far from the previous session’s peak of $42,404, its highest level since April 2022.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency has charged roughly 153% higher this year on U.S. rate cut expectations and bets that American regulators will soon approve exchange-traded spot bitcoin funds (ETFs), opening the bitcoin market to millions more investors.

“$40,000 has acted like a magnet since finally broke through $30,000 in late October,” said crypto-services firm Nexo co-founder Antoni Trenchev. “It was only a matter of time before the next round number succumbed as enthusiasm about a spot ETF reaches fever pitch.”

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