The dollar held near a 4-1/2 month high versus a basket of major currencies on Wednesday as simmering concerns about the global economy forced investors to seek safety in the greenback before the release of the Federal Reserve’s July meeting minutes.
Sterling and the commodity-exposed Australian and Canadian dollars all hovered near recent lows against the dollar as the broad market mood remained cautious. The dollar index held steady around 93.09, just below an early April high of 93.20 hit last week.
Even the New Zealand dollar, which briefly rose after the central bank set out a hawkish outlook for interest rates, swooned as a mild wave of risk aversion swept through markets.
The Kiwi was down 0.5% at $0.6888 in London trading having risen earlier to $0.6952 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it would keep rates at 0.25%, after the country was put into a snap COVID-19 lockdown.A monthly fund manager survey by investment bank BoFA Securities showed that investors flipped to a net overweight on the dollar for the first time in nearly a year.
That shift in positioning was evident in more high-frequency weekly data as well with hedge funds ramping up their net long bets on the greenback to the most since March 2020.
While thedollar failed to draw any sustained strength from Fed Chair’s Jerome Powell’s comments and mixed U.S. data, markets shifted focus towards the annual Jackson Hole symposium next week where some expect the Fed to signal a change in direction with regards to its asset purchase plans.
U.S. retail sales fell 1.1% in July, more than economists expected but industrial production numbers showed that output at U.S. factories surged in July.
Elsewhere, the Canadian dollar hovered near a one-month low.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin traded at $45,244, not far from Saturday’s three-month high of $48,190. Ether stood at $3,042.