© Reuters. Illustration photo of a U.S. Dollar note
By Stanley White
TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar held steady against most currencies on Monday as investors awaited data expected to show the U.S. services sector stopped contracting, in what would give further hope to an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The euro moved in a narrow range before economic data from Germany and the eurozone that are also forecast to show a sharp rebound in corporate activity and retail sales, which would ease concerns about the economic outlook.
The yen drifted lower against most major currencies as gains in Asian share prices encouraged some risk-on trades.
A steady rise of new coronavirus infections in the United States has discouraged some investors from taking big positions in the currency market, but most market participants remain focused on the growing likelihood that major economies will continue to recover.
“When it comes to dollar/yen, recovery expectations are supporting the dollar, but worries about the virus are capping the upside,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities.
“The markets are focused on other currency pairs, like the Australian dollar, which is still in a clear uptrend against the U.S. dollar due to the rise in prices.”
The dollar edged up to 107.74 yen
The euro () rose 0.2% to $1.1270. Against the British pound, the common currency edged up to 90.29 pence ().
Against the Swiss franc, the dollar
The Institute for Supply Management’s index for non-manufacturing activity due later on Monday is expected to rise to 50.0 in June from 45.4 in the previous month, indicating activity stopped shrinking.
The greenback has been locked into narrow trading ranges recently as concerns about a resurgence in U.S. coronavirus infections offset growing optimism about the economy.
The euro will come into focus later in the trading day as Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, is scheduled to release industrial orders for May.
Retail sales for all of the eurozone will also be released later on Monday. Both indicators are forecast to recover strongly from large declines caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
The yen fell 0.4% against the euro () to 121.41. Japan’s currency also fell around 0.5% against the Australian () and New Zealand dollars () as risk sentiment improved.
However, the yen could quickly reverse course given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, analysts said.
The Australian dollar
The is another market focus ahead of a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) policy meeting on Tuesday. Analysts expect rates will stay at 0.25% amid signs Australia’s economic downturn will not be as dire as first feared.
Recent gains in prices of copper and other commodities that Australia exports, combined with a more positive tone for the RBA, are likely to support the Aussie, analysts say.
However, there are still reasons to be cautious about the Aussie. On Monday, Australia’s Victoria state said it will close its border with the country’s most populous state of New South Wales to contain a sudden spike in coronavirus infections.
Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar
Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 https://graphics.reuters.com/GLOBAL-CURRENCIES-PERFORMANCE/0100301V041/index.html