Dollar heads lower at start of busy central bank policy week

Dollar heads lower at start of busy central bank policy week

The dollar slipped versus it major rivals on Monday as investors got ready for a flurry of monetary-policy decisions in a data-heavy week.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.24%  , which measures the greenback against a basket of six rivals, was down 0.3% at 97.158.

The euro EURUSD, +0.3626%  holds the most weight in the gauge. The shared currency last bought $1.1348, up from $1.1309.

This week, market participants are focusing on an expected interest-rate increase by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday — the fourth and final one this year. Market expectations for 2019 rate hikes have begun to wane of late on the back of dovish comments from Fed officials including Chairman Jerome Powell.

In other monetary policy updates this week, the Bank of Japan will make its announcement late Wednesday. The Bank of England meets on Thursday.

Investors will also keep an eye on China’s Central Economic Work Conference and a speech by President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May warned members of Parliament that holding a second Brexit referendum would hurt the faith of the British people in the government. May cancelled a vote on the Brexit deal she agreed with the European Union last week, expecting she would lose it. Since, the Prime Minister has survived a vote of no-confidence from her own party as well, but solutions to the Brexit dilemma are still hard to come by.

While trading volumes typically drop off in the last few sessions of the year, “Brexit will continue to be a source of potentially extreme volatility for the [British] pound over the next couple of weeks,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.

Sterling GBPUSD, +0.2702%  was stronger on Monday, buying $1.2636, versus $1.2583 late Friday in New York. But despite trading in the green for the moment, the currency has fallen against both the dollar and the euro EURGBP, +0.1559% on the month and the year, according to FactSet.

“The odds are stacked against [May] at this point and her ‘friends’ in Europe are in no rush to offer a lifeline. With support for a second referendum gathering momentum over the weekend, there is no incentive for them to back down in the issue of the [Northern Irish border] backstop,” Erlam said. “It seems there is a number of steps that come before parliament accepts a no deal, which may force the EU into concessions, at least one of which could realistically see the U.K. remain in the block after all.”

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