The U.S. dollar slipped on Wednesday as Democrats took the lead in runoff votes that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and possibly pave the way for a big spending administration under President-elect Joe Biden.
The euro rose past major resistance to a new 32-month high and the greenback struck multi-year lows on the Swiss franc and the Australian and New Zealand dollars. Against a basket of currencies, it hit its lowest since April 2018.
Analysts generally assume a Democrat-controlled Senate would be positive for economic growth globally and thus for most riskier assets, but negative for bonds and the dollar as the U.S. budget and trade deficits swell even further.
“A Democratic-led government is expected to add more stimulus to help mitigate the virus crisis and...that means that there’s going to be a weaker dollar,” said Paul Sandhu, head of multi-asset quant solutions at BNP Paribas in Hong Kong.
The boost to the economy also makes investors more comfortable with risk and likely to seek assets outside the U.S., especially in emerging markets, Sandhu said.
Democrats will control both houses of Congress if they win both Senate seats up for contest in Georgia.
NBC television and election analytics firm Edison Research called one of the contests in favour of Democrat Raphael Warnock and Edison had Democrat Jon Ossoff leading in the other, but the latter race was still too close to call.
The euro rose 0.3% to $1.2335 in late Asia trade as the results became clearer, breaking past resistance at $1.2310. The Australian and New Zealand dollars each rose 0.5%, with the Aussie hitting $0.7798 and the kiwi $0.7289.
The dollar had on Tuesday fallen through a major support level against the yen and it extended lower to a new 10-month low of 102.60 in early Asia trade on Wednesday. It also hit an almost six-year trough of 0.8767 Swiss francs.
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar fell 0.3% to 89.272. Sterling rose 0.2% to $1.3653. [GBP/]
GEORGIA MORNING DUE
A decisive outcome in Georgia could arrive as soon as Wednesday morning in the United States, although the tightness of the count suggests an official result may take longer.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told CNN that he hoped to have a better idea around noon (1700 GMT). In any case the bond market is priced for more borrowing with benchmark 10-year Treasury yields above 1% for the first time since March.
The more modest moves in currencies reflect ambivalence over whether returns from higher yields will be eventually eroded by higher inflation or flattered by lower inflation.
“Rising taxes and regulation will not cure today’s weak dollar,” said Michael J. Kelly, PineBridge Investments’ global head of multi assets in New York.
“The global rotation out of U.S.-based assets into Europe and emerging would continue...soon we’ll be back to focusing on the vaccine roll outs.”
Rising currencies in Asia, where the economic recovery has been most impressive, have caught an added boost from China’s soaring yuan, which increases China’s purchasing power for commodities and other imports.
After a Tuesday surge, the yuan was steady at 6.4552 per dollar on Wednesday as profit taking and state-owned bank selling cooled excitement about a big jump in its onshore trading band. [CNY/]
The yuan has gained 12% on the dollar since last May as China’s economic rebound has led the world’s pandemic recovery.
Elsewhere, a rise in oil prices lifted exporters’ currencies, sending the Norwegian crown to a 21-month high of 8.4350 per dollar and the Canadian dollar CAD= to a 32-month peak. [O/R]
Cryptocurrency Bitcoin hit a fresh record high of $35,879 following a bullish price forecast by J.P. Morgan.
Reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Sam Holmes and Kim Coghill