November 19, 2019 / 11:44 AM / 18 days ago

FOREX-Dollar snaps 3-day losing streak as Fed minutes eyed

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The dollar snapped a three-day losing streak against rivals on Tuesday thanks to gains in the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen but remained trapped within well-worn ranges before the release of minutes from the latest U.S. central bank meeting.

At its end-October policy meeting, the Fed cut interest rates for the third time this year, and hedge funds have ramped up bearish bets versus the dollar in the last three weeks in anticipation of more greenback weakness.

Waning hopes of a preliminary trade deal between the United States and China have also weighed on the dollar, knocking it from a one-month high tested last week.

“Trade headlines are buffeting markets though there is a general feeling the worst is behind us on the trade war front but there needs to be a firm catalyst to move markets out of their ranges,” said Neil Mellor, a senior FX strategist at BNY Mellon in London.

Expectations had grown that Washington and Beijing would sign a so-called “phase one” deal this month to scale back their 16-month-long trade war but those hopes received a setback on Monday after CNBC reported that China is pessimistic about agreeing to a deal.

The dollar drifted 0.1% higher to 97.87 against its rivals after three consecutive days of losses.

Its gains were most pronounced against the perceived safe-haven currencies of the franc and the yen, rising 0.2% against both.

LOW VOLATILITY

Despite the gains, the dollar and the broader currency complex remained mired within recent trading ranges.

Deutsche Bank estimates that currency market volatility for the major G10 currency pairs is at its lowest levels in 45 years.

Against the dollar, the major G10 currencies are on track for an average annual range of nearly 8.5%, compared to a post Bretton Woods range of 15.2% and a peak of 30.7% in 2008.

A period of low inflation, limited changes to central bank policies and a concerted push by global policymakers to stem any negative pressures in global markets have all contributed to this ultra-low period of financial market volatility.

Elsewhere, Australia’s central bank agreed “a case could be made” for another cut to its 0.75% cash rate at its November meeting given unwelcome weakness in wages growth and inflation, minutes published on Tuesday showed.

The Australian dollar fell 0.16% to $0.6799 and declined 0.26% to 73.82 yen.

Sterling held firm around $1.2950 with the pound buoyed by polls pointing to a victory by the ruling Conservatives in upcoming elections.

In the onshore market, the yuan fell to a two-week low of 7.0295 per dollar.

Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo; Editing by Peter Graff, Kirsten Donovan

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