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By Kevin Buckland
TOKYO (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar traded near more than two-week troughs versus major peers on Thursday, tracking Treasury yields lower, after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting offered no new catalysts to dictate market direction.
Fed officials remained cautious about the risks of the pandemic – even as the U.S. recovery gathered steam amid massive stimulus – and committed to pouring on monetary policy support until a rebound was more secure, the minutes showed Wednesday.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell will speak at a virtual International Monetary Fund conference later on Thursday.
The which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, edged lower to 92.371 in the Asian session, after dipping to as low as 92.134 on Wednesday for the first time since March 23.
The gauge rallied to an almost five-month high of 93.439 at the end of last month as the U.S. pandemic recovery outpaced most other developed nations, particularly Europe.
“Hard to argue that the U.S. macro outperformance trade is exhausted; the strong vaccine drive, reopening and stimulus set to produce some exceptionally strong rebound data in the next several months,” Westpac strategists wrote in a report, forecasting a run at 94.5 for the dollar index, also known as DXY.
“Admittedly though, the next DXY upleg may take a few weeks before it develops momentum – a lot of good news is priced in.”
The benchmark was around 1.67% on Thursday, after dipping below 1.63% overnight. It hit a more than one-year top of 1.776% late last month.
The eked out a modest gain on Wednesday, moving mainly sideways since surging to a record high to start the week.
The chief currency strategist at Citigroup (NYSE:) Global Markets Japan, Osamu Takashima, said that the market’s direction is difficult to call, but expects the next move for the greenback to be lower.
“Current market sentiment is mild risk-on, and under such circumstances the dollar will weaken gradually – but no big moves,” he said.
The retreat in U.S. yields has also removed a driver for dollar gains, he added.
The dollar weakened slightly to 109.66 yen , consolidating after its retreat from a more than one-year high of 110.97 reached on March 31.
The euro was almost unchanged from Wednesday at $1.18715, after rebounding from the almost five-month low of $1.1704 touched on March 31.
“The vaccination progress in the Eurozone is significantly lagging that of the U.S., and coronavirus infection rates in the Eurozone are on the rise again,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategist Joseph Capurso wrote in a client note.
“As such, is vulnerable to a move lower towards 1.1700 in the near‑term.”
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