Dollar Up as Investors Await Biden’s “Trillions” in U.S. Stimulus Plans


By Gina Lee – The dollar was up on Thursday morning in Asia, continuing a rebound from near three-year lows against major peers as investors await U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for further stimulus measures.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.04% to 90.373 by 11:11 PM ET (4:11 AM GMT). The index was little changed on Thursday after adding 0.3% during the previous session. It fell to as low as 89.206 for the first time since March 2018 on Jan. 6.

The USD/JPY pair edged up 0.17% to 104.03. The dollar remained little changed against the yen, after a previous 0.1% rise.

The AUD/USD pair edged up 0.19% to 0.7747 and the NZD/USD pair was up 0.24% to 0.7195.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.05% to 6.4712. Chinese trade data released earlier in the day outperformed, with exports growing 18.1% year-on-year, imports growing 6.5% year-on-year and the trade balance at $78.17 billion in December.

The GBP/USD pair inched up 0.03% to 1.3640.

Biden is scheduled to unveil plans for “trillions” of dollars in further COVID-19 stimulus measures later in the day. Investor expectancy that the measures will lead to faster economic recovery lifted U.S. Treasury yields, in turn giving the greenback a boost.

Investors continued to unwind bearish bets, which also helped the U.S. currency hold onto gains made on Wednesday. The prospect of more stimulus measures weighed in on U.S. government bonds and saw the benchmark Treasury yield top 1% for the first time since March 2020, in turn leading the dollar to ee gains in four of the past five trading sessions.

Bitcoin held onto its 10% gains from Wednesday, rallying after a slide of almost $12,000 from its all-time high of $42,000 seen during the previous week. The digital currency was 0.6% higher at $37,655 on Thursday, climbing up from the low of $30,261.13 seen on Jan. 11.

However, some investors were cautious and warned that the dollar’s bounce could be temporary, as a build-up of bearish positions are unwound. FOREX speculators have been net short the dollar since March 2020 as a surge in investors’ appetite for riskier assets turned them away from the dollar. More stimulus will also support risk sentiment in the long term, further dampening demand for the safe-haven dollar.

“I think positioning in risk assets is becoming a concern, so there could be a squeeze in the dollar near-term,” Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) chief Japan FX strategist Shusuke Yamada told Reuters.

“I am focusing on gradual dollar weakness in 2021,” Yamada added.

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