Dollar Weighed by Soggy Consumer Sentiment; Chinese Data Hurts Aussie

Against the euro, the dollar was mostly flat at $1.1789, close to the one-week low of $1.18045 reached Friday.

A University of Michigan survey released at the end of last week showed consumer sentiment sliding to the lowest level since 2011 amid an acceleration in COVID-19 infections.

“Does the survey signal an imminent turn in the U.S. economy? We doubt it given vaccine efficacy remains high and the hit to sentiment likely means more people will get vaccinated,” Tapas Strickland, an analyst at National Australia Bank, wrote in a client note. “Instead, the Delta surge in the U.S. is more a case of delay rather than derail as far as the recovery is concerned.”

U.S. retail sales data due Tuesday will be closely watched for further clues on consumer behaviour.

The dollar has oscillated with the flow of economic data, with momentum from a jobs market recovery pushing it to a four-month peak last week, only to see it knocked back by cooling inflation pressures.

Net dollar long positions rose to their highest level since early March last year in the week ended Aug. 10.

Traders continue to look toward the Fed’s central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, toward the end of this month, for clues to its next move.

Ahead of that, Fed Chair Jerome Powell holds a virtual town hall with educators and students on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Fed releases minutes of its July policy meeting.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategist Kim Mundy warns against making too much of the dip in consumer confidence and still predicts an announcement for a tapering of stimulus next month.

“One month’s data does not make a trend but it bears watching,” she wrote in a research note.

“USD can lift this week if the FOMC minutes suggest committee members are considering tapering asset purchases as soon as next month.”

In Asia, the Australian dollar fell 0.54% to $0.7336 after economic data from its biggest trading partner, China, disappointed, and as COVID-19 lockdowns were tightened at home.

China’s factory output and retail sales growth slowed sharply in July, as new COVID-19 outbreaks and floods disrupted business operations, adding to signs the economic recovery is losing momentum.

The data weighed on the yuan, which retreated from a 10-day peak of 6.4733 per dollar in the onshore spot.

Minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest meeting are due on Tuesday.

The kiwi dollar was 0.21% weaker at $0.70235 ahead of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s policy meeting on Wednesday, at which economists widely expect the first hike in the benchmark interest rate since 2014.

The Malaysian ringgit fell to a one-year low of 4.2415 per dollar as the country’s prime minister prepared to step down, according to media reports.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin edged higher to around $47,500, approaching the three-month high of $48,190 marked over the weekend.

Smaller rival ether rose to a fresh three-month high at $3,340.06 before trading down slightly at $3,286.75.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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