September 20, 2019 / 1:13 AM / a month ago

Dollar posts weekly gain on hopes for trade, Fed on hold

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of currencies on Friday, for its first weekly increase in three, prompted by hopes of progress in U.S.-China trade talks and that the Federal Reserve would not lower rates aggressively.

FILE PHOTO: A woman counts U.S. dollar bills at her home in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

Sterling retreated from a two-month high versus the greenback after the Irish foreign minister said that London and the European Union were not yet close to a Brexit deal.

U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators are set to continue talks that began on Thursday in an effort to lay the groundwork for high-level discussions in early October that will determine whether the world’s biggest economies can reach a trade deal.

While tariffs and worries about protracted supply-chain disruption have hampered global business activity, the U.S. economy is still faring relatively well, analysts said.

“The U.S. economy is clearly doing better than anyone else,” said Joseph Trevisani, senior analyst at FX Street in New York. “I’m still in the stronger dollar camp.”

With housing starts at a 12-year high and factory output rebounding in August, the longest U.S. expansion on record seems to have more legs, he said.

In late U.S. trading, an index that tracks the dollar against a basket of six major currencies .DXY was up 0.24% at 98.51 for a weekly gain of about 0.25%.

The euro EUR=EBS fell 0.2% on the day to $1.10175, while the greenback slipped 0.37% to 107.645 yen.

Against a favorable economic backdrop, the Fed lowered key lending rates by a quarter point on Wednesday, but signaled a higher bar to further reductions in borrowing costs.

On Friday, Fed officials delivered different assessments on the economy and what should be done about it.

Interest rates futures implied traders saw a 63% chance of another rate cut by year-end, compared with 69% late on Thursday, CME Group’s FedWatch program showed.

Meanwhile, sterling was briefly the biggest gainer overnight against the dollar after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said late Thursday he thought Brussels could reach agreement with Britain on its departure from the European Union.

Sterling’s gains faded after the comments by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on a Brexit deal, and a Financial Times report that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had told colleagues he did not expect to be able to reach a full “legally operable” deal covering the Irish border at a meeting of EU leaders.

The pound GBP=D3 was down 0.37% at $1.2476 after touching a two-month high at $1.2582. It reached a four-month high of 87.875 pence EURGBP=D3 per euro before easing to 88.26 pence, down 0.15% on the day.

For a graphic on foreign exchange market positions:

here

Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in LONDON; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Andrea Ricci

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