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U.S. dollar rises to two-year high; yuan tumbles


© Reuters. One Euro coins are seen in this illustration taken November 9, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar scaled two-year peaks, as a wave of risk aversion hit global markets, while the Chinese yuan posted its largest three-day losing streak in nearly four years on growing worries of an economic slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

With war in Ukraine entering a third month and growing concerns of a China-wide COVID-19 outbreak sparking a rout in Chinese stocks, investors dumped currency market darlings like the Australian dollar and the offshore Chinese yuan.

Against a basket of its rivals, the dollar rose to 101.86, a level it last tested in March 2020. It was last at 101.76, up 0.7%, its largest daily percentage gain since March 11.

The dollar is increasingly in vogue given the dimmer outlook for the world economy, coupled with the Federal Reserve’s ever assertive rhetoric about big rate hikes to help it tame inflation,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst, at Western Union Business Solutions, in Washington.

“China’s struggle to contain the COVID-19 is adding to risk aversion that’s partly behind the dollar’s dominance,” he added.

China’s yuan fell to a one-year low against the dollar and was last down 0.9% at 6.5615 yuan per U.S. dollar.

The People’s Bank of China on Monday said it would cut the FX reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 100 basis points to 8% beginning May 15, to “improve financial institutions’ ability to use foreign exchange funds”, according to an online statement. It was a move aimed at slowing the depreciation of the yuan.

“We expect this RRR cut to slow down CNY depreciation in the near term, though it would also depend on the broad U.S. dollar path and overall sentiment towards Chinese growth,” said Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) in a research note.

The Aussie, which was one of the biggest gainers in currencies in the first quarter of 2022 thanks to surging commodity prices, fell broadly. It dropped 0.9% against the U.S. dollar to US$0.7176 and fell 1.4% versus the Japanese yen to 91.88 yen.

The Norwegian crown also fell nearly 2% versus the U.S. dollar, which last traded up at 9.1250.

Broader currency market volatility gauges ticked higher, with an index rising to its highest levels in more than a month.

BofA Securities strategists said despite the pickup in currency market volatility, investors were long the Canadian dollar, Aussie, and euro.

The euro’s tiny gains after French President Emmanuel Macron’s comfortable election victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen quickly faded, with the single currency down 0.9% at $1.0717, against a resurgent dollar.

Latest positioning data for last week showed hedge funds trimmed their long euro bets.

Graphic: FX positions –

Hawkish comments by various policymakers last week also raised the risks of aggressive policy tightening by global central banks. Money markets expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by a half point at the next two meetings and the European Central Bank to raise interest rates by 25 basis points in July.


Currency bid prices at 3:44PM (1944 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change


Dollar index 101.6700 101.0800 +0.60% 6.279% +101.8600 +101.0500

Euro/Dollar $1.0717 $1.0810 -0.86% -5.73% +$1.0852 +$1.0697

Dollar/Yen 128.0100 128.5000 -0.39% +11.18% +128.8550 +127.5250

Euro/Yen 137.18 138.78 -1.15% +5.26% +139.1900 +136.4900

Dollar/Swiss 0.9585 0.9565 +0.23% +5.10% +0.9597 +0.9548

Sterling/Dollar $1.2740 $1.2840 -0.77% -5.79% +$1.2880 +$1.2697

Dollar/Canadian 1.2719 1.2711 +0.06% +0.59% +1.2777 +1.2707

Aussie/Dollar $0.7177 $0.7244 -0.94% -1.28% +$0.7268 +$0.7135

Euro/Swiss 1.0270 1.0333 -0.61% -0.95% +1.0347 +1.0245

Euro/Sterling 0.8410 0.8410 +0.00% +0.12% +0.8441 +0.8398

NZ $0.6620 $0.6635 -0.23% -3.29% +$0.6635 +$0.6584


Dollar/Norway 9.1285 8.9595 +1.90% +3.64% +9.1745 +8.9450

Euro/Norway 9.7842 9.6683 +1.20% -2.28% +9.8235 +9.6594

Dollar/Sweden 9.7144 9.5245 +1.13% +7.72% +9.7461 +9.5142

Euro/Sweden 10.4099 10.2933 +1.13% +1.72% +10.4374 +10.2954

U.S. dollar rises to two-year high; yuan tumbles

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