CURRENCIES: Dollar Sinks To 9-month Low Against Euro

By Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch , Rachel Koning Beals Features Dow Jones Newswires

ECB's Draghi hints at early steps away from aggressive stimulus

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The dollar fell broadly Tuesday, marking a nine-month low against the euro, as investors weigh what could be a shift away from aggressive eurozone stimulus.

The euro gained after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said in a speech in Portugal that changes to the central bank's accommodative posture may see the ECB move "not in order to tighten the policy stance, but to keep it broadly unchanged." The comments made in Sintra, Portugal, were viewed as being less dovish, or accommodative, than Draghi's earlier speeches by some analysts' accounts, and gave the euro a lift to its highest level, briefly above $1.13, since September, according data from WSJ Market Data Group.

"There was a very minor nuanced change in his tone, but it was enough to impact the euro," said Neil Mellor, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon.

The euro was most recently changing hands at $1.1277, up 0.8% compared with $1.1182 late Monday in New York.

The ICE Dollar Index , a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.6% at 96.82, with the euro holding the largest weighting in the dollar gauge.

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Investors traded the dollar cautiously ahead of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's speech in London on Tuesday, set for 1 p.m. Eastern U.S. time, and any commentary backing up or undermining what is expected to be at least one more interest-rate hike from the Fed this year.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker will also speak in London, while San Francisco's John Williams, who already signaled his preference for higher U.S. rates in a speech this week, will offer remarks in Australia. Data on home prices and consumer confidence (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic) will be released at 10 a.m. Eastern. Their comments will come against the backdrop of persistent concerns that inflation is running below the Fed's expectations for a 2% rise.

"A lot depends on whether a decline in inflation is indeed temporary, but the biggest risk to taking a positive view of the economy is Italy. Once the ECB stops buying assets, Italy will be on its own and the consequence of that is simply unknown," said Mellor.

"This is no change in ECB rhetoric, which although it shifted to a less dovish bias at the latest policy meeting it remained committed to keeping rates at current low levels," said Charalambos Pissouros, senior analyst with Iron FX. "Thus, we keep our view untouched that the ECB is likely to continue to shift towards a more sanguine bias at its upcoming meetings, provided that incoming eurozone data remain solid."

In other currencies, the pound was worth $1.2764, up 0.4% compared with $1.2721 late Monday.

The pound has gained marginally to start the week after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May reached a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party for its lawmakers to support the Conservatives' minority government (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uks-dup-reaches-deal-to-support-minority-tory-government-reports-2017-06-26).

"We see the likelihood for [pound-dollar] to trade higher heading into the Queen's Speech vote on Thursday and get closer to $1.2850, given that the Tory-DUP accord lifts some political uncertainty," said Pissouros. "If [pound-dollar] manages to break above the $1.2755 resistance soon, then we may see it targeting our next resistance of $1.2815."

Against its Japanese counterpart, the dollar strengthened slightly against the yen, buying Yen111.92, up from Yen111.87 late Monday in New York.

The dollar trimmed losses after data showing U.S. consumer confidence had risen to Yen118.9 in June from Yen117.6 in May. But, it was still broadly lower against the euro.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 10:51 ET (14:51 GMT)