Market Overview

The index of the dollar near the maximum for 19 months

The dollar held near a 19-month high on Monday, bolstered by safe-haven buying as heightened concerns of a global economic slowdown reduced appetites for riskier assets such as stocks and Asian currencies. Weaker-than-expected economic data from China and Europe and fears of a possible U.S. government shutdown spooked investors away from stocks toward the greenback and yen. The dollar index .DXY, which gauges its value versus six major peers, was little changed at 97.44, below the 19-month high of 97.71 it hit on Friday.

The Australian dollar AUD=, whose fortunes are closely tied to China’s economy, was marginally lower at $0.7174. It lost 0.3 percent of its value last week as data showed Chinese November retail sales grew at the weakest pace since 2003 and industrial output rose the least in nearly three years, underlining risks to the economy.

The offshore Chinese yuan CNH= was flat at 6.8974. Apart from fears of a global economic slowdown, markets are also focusing on the likely trajectory of U.S. monetary policy. The Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates by 25 basis points at its two-day meeting that opens Tuesday. The central bank has lifted rates eight times since December 2015 in a bid to restore policy to more normal settings after having slashed borrowing costs to near zero to combat the financial crisis a decade ago.

Dollar index near 19-month high on safe-haven bid amid global growth worries, Reuters, Dec 17
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