Dollar Up, Boosted by Dovish Powell Comments, Investors Digest Chinese Data

The dollar was up on Thursday morning in Asia but started a retreat from recent peaks. Investors digested economic data from China showing a slowdown in GDP growth and the economic recovery from COVID-19 alongside further dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell over

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.01% to 92.410 by 12:38 AM ET (4:38 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair edged down 0.12% to 109.86 ahead of a Bank of Japan policy decision that will be handed down on Friday.

The AUD/USD pair was down 0.26% to 0.7460, with Australia releasing lower-than-expected labor data for June earlier in the day. The employment change was 29,100 and the full employment change was 51,600, while the unemployment rate was a better-than-expected 4.9%.

The NZD/USD pair was down 0.30% to 0.7011, paring some of its gains made after Wednesday’s Reserve Bank of New Zealand policy decision. The central bank’s surprise move to halt its large-scale asset-purchase program from the following week carried the New Zealand dollar through its best session in nearly five months overnight.

The USD/CNY pair inched down 0.07% to 6.4646, with the yuan easing from the one-month high hit during the previous session and last at 6.4613 per dollar in offshore trade.

Data released earlier in the day said the Chinese GDP grew 7.9% year-on-year and 1.3% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter. Industrial production also grew 8.3% year-on-year in June while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5%.

The data follows the People’s Bank of China’s surprise cut in the reserve requirement ratio during the previous week.

The GBP/USD pair edged down % to 1.3839.

Powell testified before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, where he said that monetary policy would remain accommodative and that inflationary pressures will likely moderate. However, he also warned that the Fed would act if inflation was persistently and materially above its 2% target. Investors now await Powell’s second round of testimony later in the day.

“The market is still on an uncertain path,” with investors neither entirely convinced Powell can keep policy super easy nor sure about the trajectory of recovery as the COVID-19 virus mutates, National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) strategist Rodrigo Catril told Reuters.

“The dynamics of different currencies seem to be being overwhelmed by the dollar dynamic,” which is in turn being driven by data and by the spread of the virus’ Delta variant, he added.

Investors now look to Jul. 19, when the U.K. hopes to lift almost all its remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

“The big experiment is really the full reopening in the U.K….. that could be successful, we think it’s going to be a huge factor in terms of confidence and pricing a broader and sustained recovery,” which could weaken the dollar, said Catril.

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