Dollar in the doldrums; U.S. politics, Fed minutes eyed
2020-08-17

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The dollar slipped marginally and commodity currencies inched higher on Monday as investors were relieved by a delay in the review of the U.S.-China trade pact which left the deal intact.

The moves in the Asia session were modest, as weak data and uncertainty ahead of a week that includes Federal Reserve minutes and the Democrats’ nomination convention kept a lid on sentiment.

Against a basket of currencies =USD the dollar traded under gentle pressure at 92.987, roughly in the middle of the range it has held since dropping to a two-year low in late July.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar AUD=D3 inched up to a week high of $0.7196, poking around the top end of a channel it has traded in for a week. The oil-sensitive Canadian dollar CAD=D3 also edged 0.1% higher to C$1.3253 per greenback.

The United States and China postponed a Saturday review of their Phase 1 trade deal, people familiar with the plans told Reuters, citing scheduling conflicts.

“That’s good news in the sense that it’s something we can place on the back burner for now,” said National Australia Bank senior foreign exchange strategist Rodrigo Catril.

“But there are other uncertainties coming up that need to be resolved,” he said, pointing to U.S. politics as a presidential election looms, and new virus hot spots in Europe that could challenge the perception that the euro is on an uptrend.

Speculation is rife the Fed will adopt an average inflation target, which would seek to push inflation above 2% for some time to make up for the years it has run below it.

“The bond market is key here,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone. “If the Fed can drive down real yields then the dollar will follow, and gold will rally - and vice versa.”

The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. debt rose almost 15 basis points last week, its sharpest weekly rise in two months, which weighed on the yen by attracting investment from Japan.

U.S. 10-year yields US10YT=RR dipped a tiny bit to 0.7012% on Monday, while the yen was a tad firmer at 106.51 per dollar.