By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Joice Alves
NEW YORK/LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – The dollar gained on Monday, rising for three straight sessions, as civilian killings in north Ukraine and the prospect of increased sanctions pushed investors to seek safety in the greenback.
The US currency also continued to benefit from a strong non-farm payrolls report for March that backed expectations for a hefty half a percentage point tightening by the Federal Reserve at next month’s meeting.
“The dollar is bouncing higher as geopolitical developments have darkened clouds over the global economy,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst, at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
“The buck was already enjoying jobs-inspired gains after solid hiring and lower unemployment cemented expectations of super-sized US rate hikes this year.”
French President Emmanuel Macron called for new sanctions and said there were clear indications Russian forces had committed war crimes in the town of Bucha.
The Kremlin denied any charges related to the murder of civilians in the town.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the European Union should discuss ending Russian gas imports. Russia supplies some 40% of Europe’s gas needs.
In late morning trading, the dollar, which measures the greenback against a basket of peers rose 0.3% to 98.89 .DXY.
Data on Friday showed US unemployment hit a two-year low of 3.6% last month, leading investors to assess if the numbers would strengthen the Fed’s resolve to tackle inflation by lifting rates sharply.
The euro EUR=EBS, which has been under pressure due to worries about the economic damage from the war in Ukraine, fell 0.6% to 0.4% versus the dollar to $1.0988. Against sterling, the euro fell to a six-day low and it was last down 0.6% at 83.73 pence. EURGBP=D3
“More sanctions of course also mean that the risk of energy disruptions in Europe rises, because of our own sanctions or because Russia might get completely serious with its counter-sanctions rather than just changing the payment mode for natural gas,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, Commerzbank Head of FX.
“In my view the risk of significant euro weakness increases.”
Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.3% to 122.855 yen JPY=EBS.
Kit Juckes, head of FX strategy at Societe Generale, said a 50bp rate hike was already priced in.
“CFTC data suggests the market has been rebuilding its long dollar position. That’s one reason the dollar is making heavy work of rising any further just now,” he said.
Speculators’ net long bets on the dollar rose to an 11-week high in the latest week.
Fed funds futures 0#FF: on Friday have priced an 80% chance of a 50 basis point hike next month FEDWATCHwhile two-year US yields US2YT=RR hit 2.4950%, their highest level since March 2019.
Markets in mainland China were closed for a public holiday, but in offshore trade the yuan CNH=D3 was kept under pressure by concerns over a lengthening lockdown in Shanghai, where authorities are seeking to virus-test all 26 million residents.
Currency bid prices at 10:40AM (1440 GMT)
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(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York and Joice Alves in London; Editing by Ed Osmond, John Stonestreet and Barbara Lewis)
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