China’s offshore yuan fell after the Chinese central bank cut a key interbank interest rate, while Singapore’s central bank aggressively eased monetary policy as well on Monday.
The euro, sterling and Australian dollar were all lower, bringing an end to recent rebounds that followed the Federal Reserve’s efforts to calm the safe-haven rush to own the U.S. currency earlier this month.
“You’re starting see other central banks being active, with Singapore, for instance, delivering an adjustment to its band,” said Edward Moya, senior market strategist at OANDA in New York. “All this follow-through easing around the world is providing a temporary dollar rebound.”
Concern about the spreading coronavirus and the economic impact of shutdowns continued to dominate foreign exchange markets, but price moves on Monday were relatively well-contained and much smaller than in recent sessions.
“I think you have to say that risk is still high,” said Adam Cole, a currencies strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
“The underlying news flow out of China has been a lot better, in Italy it has improved … but that’s not the case in the UK and certainly not the case in the U.S.”
He said markets needed to see “broader evidence of a peak in infections” before calm returned and otherwise risked more “brutal selloffs periodically”.
In mid-morning trading, the dollar index rose 0.9% to 99.17.
Analysts said investors’ end-of-month portfolio rebalancing as well as nervousness about the virus was also supporting the dollar.
The euro dropped more than 1% to $1.1026 . Sterling fell 0.8% $1.2384 .
Over the past two weeks, the dollar first posted its biggest weekly rise since the 2008 financial crisis as investors and companies rushed into the world’s most liquid currency, then saw its biggest weekly drop since 2009. Signs of funding stress have eased but not abated and hard-dollar cash remains in high demand.
The safe-haven Japanese yen rose marginally, putting the dollar down 0.1% to 107.81.
Total global deaths from the virus are around 34,000 and the United States has emerged as the latest epicentre, with more than 141,000 confirmed cases and 2,400 deaths.
The dollar gained 0.4% versus the offshore Chinese yuan to 7.1132 after the People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut a key interbank interest rate, the seven-day reverse repurchase rate, by 20 basis points.
The Australian dollar dropped sharply before recovering to trade down 0.3% against the greenback to US$0.6149.
The rand crumbled to a record low after Moody’s cut South Africa’s credit rating.