The dollar was stable against most currencies on Friday after a measured U.S. presidential debate, but it was headed for weekly losses as investors waited for a breakthrough in stimulus talks in Washington and post-Brexit trade negotiations.
U.S. President Donald Trump adopted a more restrained tone than in the first debate, though exchanges again focused on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and personal slights.
The dollar was 0.03% lower against a basket of currencies in early trades in Europe, just clear of a seven-week low hit on Wednesday. It was still down about 0.7% for the week.
The euro was unchanged against the dollar at $1.1818, So was sterling at $1.3084.
The chief negotiators for Britain and the European Union were set to meet on Friday for negotiations on a last-minute trade deal that would stave off a tumultuous finale to the five-year Brexit crisis.
“As has been the case recently, the main focus will be headlines on Brexit, fiscal stimulus and the prospects for the U.S. election”, Adam Cole, chief currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets told his clients in a morning note.
Euro zone bond yields inched lower as business surveys in France and Germany showed the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the bloc’s two biggest economies.
The safe-haven yen rose about 0.1% to 104.71 per dollar, paring some losses made on Thursday after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said stimulus talks had made progress.
Hopes that Congress might pass a stimulus package before the election and confidence that spending would follow, no matter who gets elected, has driven a sell-off in the bond market in anticipation of inflation and government borrowing.
A Biden victory, which polls predict, will probably drive further dollar weakness, because he’s expected to spend more on coronavirus aid than Trump.
However, betting markets showed a small movement in Trump’s favour in the immediate aftermath of the debate, bookmaker Ladbrokes said on Twitter on Friday - which helped the dollar to strengthen.
The Chinese yuan also held its ground against the dollar after an official at China’s foreign exchange regulator said it has been more stable than expected, suggesting authorities are not too worried about its recent rise.
The yuan has gained about 7.5% since the end of May as China led the global coronavirus recovery. It was last at 6.6884 per dollar in onshore trade, about half a percent shy of a 27-month peak on Wednesday.
Reporting by Julien Ponthus, editing by Larry King