President Donald Trump’s second round tariffs of 10% that covered $200bn of Chinese exports came into effect later on Monday.
The early currency moves came in very thin conditions with Japan and China on holiday, and were mostly reversed as the morning wore on. The dollar was soon back at 112.60 yen, having been as low as 112.28 at one stage.
Other currencies also experience fluctuations: The Australian dollar crawled up to 81.91 yen, after an initial drop to 81.34, but was still down 0.2% on the US dollar at $0.7276. The euro on the hand held at $1.1745, with dealers reporting some relief that German Chancellor Angela Merketl’s ruling coalition resolved a dispute over the country’s spymaster scandal on Sunday, ending a threat to the six-month-old government.
The dollar remained firm against a basket of currencies at 94.244 as investors looked ahead to an almost certain rate hike from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. Positive US economic data has also led markets to price in a much greater chance of a move in December as well, which should give the currency a fatter rate advantage over its major counterparts.
However, the dollar’s yield buffers are already the widest in decades and it still failed to sustain a rally, being at much the same levels it was back in May.
Marshall Gittler, chief strategist at ACLS Global, suspected that this would be a cause of worry for investors–who were concerned about how the US could continue to fund its trade and budget deficits.
“Trump’s ‘easy-to-win’ trade war doesn’t seem to have done much yet to rectify the US trade imbalance with China or any other country for that matter,” he noted. “And the tax cuts are blowing up the budget deficit.”
“If the US can’t offer more of a yield concession to attract money, it would probably have to offer a price concession via a weaker dollar in order to attract the money necessary to fund these deficits.”
The dollar however, was still faring better than the pound which on Friday suffered its sharpest one-day drop since June last year amid doubts about a Brexit deal— last at $1.3079, far below last week’s top of $1.3297.