safe havens jump on risk aversion
The dollar opened weaker on Friday in Asia on news that several officials from Trump’s campaign were subpoenaed for Russia-linked documents despite markets relief on the US tax story after lawmakers approved the tax plan in the House of Representatives. Consequently, investors turned risk-averse during the session, pushing the safe-haven assets higher.
According to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, who has been appointed to investigate possible Russian meddling in Trump’s 2016 campaign, issued subpoenas to more than a dozen campaign officials in mid-October in an effort to collect any missing information from documents and emails. A source familiar with the matter admitted that this was Muller’s first official order for information from the campaign.
Earlier, lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed the tax package aiming to cut taxes on businesses and individuals, marking the most significant achievement so far in the tax-reform effort for Republicans. Tax challenges now remain on the Senate side where Republicans hold a narrow majority, while disagreements on the tax code still exist. The Senate decision, though, is expected to be announced only after next week’s Thanksgiving holiday.
In other news, the Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and the San Francisco Fed President John Williams expressed on Thursday their optimism on a rate hike at the next policy meeting in December. Particularly, Williams said that” a perfectly reasonable path for policy would be one more increase this year, and three next year”, while Kaplan reiterated that he is “actively considering” a rate hike in December.
The dollar index fell by 0.26% on the day to 93.69 as investors sought safer investments. Dollar/yen declined by 0.42%. Dollar/Swissie retreated by 0.24% to 0.9916 while gold jumped by 0.26% to $1,282.10 per ounce. Housing figures out of the US due later in the day might bring some volatility to the currency.
The euro gained 0.20%, rising to $1.1792 on the back of a weaker dollar despite increasing political risks in Germany. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, missed Thursday’s informal deadline to achieve an agreement on a three-way coalition, as the parties (CDU, FDP, Green party) disagreed on migration and financial issues. The negotiations will resume later on Friday and might stretch into the weekend. The markets will also keep a close eye on comments made by the ECB chief, Mario Draghi on Friday for any clues on the path of the monetary policy.
Pound/dollar went up by 0.30% to a two-week high of $1.3255 as the Brexit Secretary David Davis, speaking in Berlin, signaled some clarity on the Withdrawal bill in “a few more weeks” and therefore raised hopes that Brexit negotiations might unblock.
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