Dollar holds gains as US Covid-19 surge dulls risk appetite

Against the euro, the dollar traded at US$1.1234 (RM4.8158) today. — Reuters pic
Against the euro, the dollar traded at US$1.1234 (RM4.8158) today. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, July 3 ― The dollar was hemmed in a narrow range today, supported by safe-haven flows as a resurgence of the coronavirus in the United States discouraged some investors from taking on excessive risk.

The yuan held steady as investors avoided big positions due to worries about diplomatic friction between Washington and Beijing over civil liberties in Hong Kong.

The US economy added more jobs than expected in June, data showed yesterday, but reaction in the currency market has been muted because another spike in coronavirus infections threatens to once again put the brakes on economic activity.

“New infections in the United States have been on an uptrend since June,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior foreign exchange strategist at IG Securities.

“The market is leaning more toward buying the dollar, particularly against emerging market currencies, because the dollar is considered the safest asset around.”

Against the euro, the dollar traded at US$1.1234 (RM4.8158) today.

The dollar held steady at 0.9462 Swiss franc after three straight days of gains.

The British pound traded hands at US$1.2463 and stood at 90.15 pence per euro.

The dollar was little changed at ¥107.52.

A wave of coronavirus infections has prompted the halting of or back-pedalling on plans to reopen economic activity in several US states after months of strict lockdowns.

Officials are also taking steps to curtail activity during the extended Independence Day holiday weekend starting on Friday.

Trading in other Asian currencies today was subdued before the US holiday, but analysts say sentiment favours more gains in the dollar as investors turn cautious.

Relations between the United States and China are also in focus.

The US Senate unanimously approved legislation yesterday that penalised banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong, raising the chances of further friction between the world's two- largest economies.

The onshore yuan traded at 7.0644, little moved after data showed China's services sector expanded in June at the fastest rate in more than a decade.

The Australian dollar held steady at US$0.6929 after data confirmed retail sales rebounded by a record in May.

Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand dollar traded at US$0.6518. ― Reuters

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