By Joice Alves
LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) – The euro, sterling and the Swedish crown rose sharply against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday as traders assessed a slew of economic data, including UK and euro zone job figures plus German economic sentiment.
The euro surged 0.8% to $1.0406 at 1258 GMT, after touching its highest since early July with traders saying the main release in focus in the euro zone was the German economic sentiment ZEW index, which rose in November.
“Due to concerns about a deep recession over the winter the index had completely collapsed recently. In view of the mild start to the winter heating period and the well filled gas stores analysts are likely to have got their hopes up that things might not turn out to be quite so bad,” said Antje Praefcke, FX Analyst at Commerzbank.
Data also showed employment in the single currency area rose in the third quarter.
Jane Foley, Head of FX strategy at Rabobank in London said, there was a good amount of headlines supporting risk currencies against the dollar. She mentioned U.S. President Joe Biden’s summit meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as an indication that tensions between the two countries may have cooled, and Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson in Ukraine.
“For now the market senses an ebbing of tensions that have helped support safe haven demand for the U.S. dollar this year,”
The dollar index, which measures the currency against six counterparts including sterling and euro, slipped 0.8% to 106.08, briefly touching its lowest in three months.
The Swedish crown rose sharply against the U.S. dollar after data showed inflation in Sweden rose less than expected in October. It traded up 1.12% at 10.3795 crowns per dollar.
Sterling rose 1.25% to $1.1906 at a three month high against the dollar, ahead of a tough government budget plan later this week and after data showing Britain’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose and vacancies fell for a fifth report in a row as employers worried about the economy.
Francesco Pesole, FX strategist at ING, said his team would still expect a 50 basis point rate hike by the Bank of England in December as “unemployment rate edged higher but was mostly driven by hiring freezes rather than rising redundancies”.
The focus was also on the Autumn Budget announcement on Thursday. British finance minister Jeremy Hunt said that lowering government debt was the only option to reduce inflation. “We will be asking those that have more to give more,” he said.
In the United States, Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard on Monday echoed weekend comments by Fed Governor Christopher Waller that interest rates need to keep rising to battle inflation. The comments come after the dollar index tumbled 3.9% last week, its worst performance since March 2020, as U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected, stoking speculation a peak in rates would be near.
The European Central Bank (ECB) will probably continue to raise interest rates beyond 2%, but “jumbo” rate hikes will not become a new habit, France’s central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau said.
The onshore Chinese yuan was changing hands at 7.0475, up 0.3% on the day, largely shrugging off a surprise contraction in retail sales, garnering support from an easing of strained China-U.S. tensions.
(Reporting by Joice Alves; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Angus MacSwan)