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Dollar drops as Trump tariff decision looms

June 15, 2018

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The day's numbers are displayed after the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on June 14. — AFP
The day's numbers are displayed after the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on June 14. — AFP

The euro recovered slightly against the dollar on Friday after a slump triggered by the European Central Bank (ECB) saying it would hold off hiking interest rates at least for another year, while stock markets diverged ahead of United States (US) President Donald Trump's decision on whether to hit China with fresh tariffs.

“It's been a relatively mixed start to trading in Europe on Friday and the US is on course to post small losses at the open, as the focus shifts from central banks back to trade,” noted Craig Erlamsenior market analyst at Oanda trading group.

Trump was on Friday due to unveil a final list of Chinese imports that would face punishing tariffs, fanning fears of a trade war as Beijing warned that it could swiftly strike back.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) on Thursday approved a raft of tariffs targeting US goods.

In Friday trading, the single currency recovered versus the dollar, one day after it was hammered by the ECB's announcement that was accompanied by a cut in the central bank's eurozone growth outlook, citing rising protectionism and global trade fears.

Confirmation that the ECB would end its crisis-era bond-buying stimulus provided only little support as that announcement had been widely expected.

The Federal Reserve had on Wednesday said that it would likely hike US rates twice more this year and four times in 2019, highlighting an increasing divergence between the two central banks.

Bank of Japan (BoJ) head Haruhiko Kuroda meanwhile on Friday defended its decision to press ahead with the country's ultra-loose monetary policy.

After a two-day meeting, the BoJ said it would retain its current framework, pointing to a disappointing lack of progress towards its longstanding 2.0 per cent inflation target.

In Europe, the euro had dived to $1.1580 on Thursday from above $1.1800 — but recovered to above $1.16 at one point on Friday.

The single currency's slump on Thursday had sent European stocks rallying the same day as a cheaper euro boosts the bloc's exporters.

And while the Nasdaq hit another record on Wall Street overnight, US stocks were generally choppy as fears grow that Trump will announce tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.

Those worries filtered through to Asia and Europe, where stock markets were fluctuating ahead of the weekend.

In London, shares in British engines maker Rolls-Royce soared 9.27 per cent to 964.60 pence.

Fresh from announcing 4,600 job cuts, Rolls said it was now “well placed” to beat its cash flow target of 1.0 billion ($1.3 billion, 1.14 billion euros) by 2020.

Shares in supermarket Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, meanwhile jumped 1.9 per cent to 254.50 pence after the company reported solid first-quarter sales.