By Ambar Warrick
Investing.com — Most Asian currencies retreated on Wednesday tracking strength in the dollar and an overnight spike in Treasury yields, as markets hunkered down ahead of more cues on monetary policy from the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s February meeting.
The dollar remained pinned near a six-week high against a basket of currencies, with the and trading sideways in Asian trade. But the greenback advanced in overnight trade.
U.S. Treasury yields also rose after a better-than-expected reading on in February, which showed that the world’s largest economy was still running hot, giving more headroom to hike interest rates.
The , due later in the day, are widely expected to reiterate the central bank’s hawkish stance. But that stance now holds more ground after surprised to the upside in January.
Asian currencies retreated on that notion, with the losing 0.3% on Wednesday. The currency was also pressured by growing uncertainty over a Chinese economic recovery, given that economic indicators released so far have painted a mixed picture of Asia’s largest economy.
China’s central bank at record lows this week, as it moves to facilitate an economic recovery. But the trend is also negative for the yuan, as a gap between local and international borrowing rates widens.
The rose 0.1%, but was nursing steep losses for the week amid uncertainty over an upcoming address by Bank of Japan Governor nominee Kazuo Ueda. Ueda is expected to shed more light on the central bank’s plans for its ultra-loose policy this year.
BOJ board member Naoki Tamura said on Wednesday that an end to the ultra-loose policy will largely depend on inflation and economic growth this year.
The reversed early gains and fell 0.3%, even as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and flagged more increases. But the central bank also flagged a sharp slowdown in economic growth this year, due to the impact of higher interest rates and rising inflation.
The fell the most among Southeast Asian currencies, losing 0.3%, while the fell 0.3% as data showed grew less than expected in the fourth quarter.
Focus this week is also on data, which is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge. The reading, due on Thursday, is expected to reiterate that inflation remained sticky in January.
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