Dollar dips across the board as trade war worries recede

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar fell across the board on Thursday as a resurgence in global risk appetite after the United States and China announced new import tariffs this week that were less harsh than expected curbed safe-haven demand for the greenback.

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

The dollar has been a major beneficiary of growing trade-related tensions in recent months, as investors bet it would gain at the expense of riskier currencies.

After a knee-jerk negative reaction to the new tariffs announced by Washington and Beijing this week, currency markets have become more settled, with traders saying they do not expect the dispute to cause a global shock, at least for now.

With news such as recent solid U.S. economic data and a likely rate hike by the Federal Reserve next week priced in, dollar bulls are struggling for other reasons to push the greenback higher, analysts said.

“Markets are realizing, at least in the short run here, there is not much more juice to squeeze out of the dollar,” said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.

The euro advanced 0.93 percent against the greenback, its best day since Aug. 21. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.7 percent at its lowest since early July.

Emerging market currencies on Thursday and the MSCI's emerging market currency index .MIEM00000CUS rose 0.49 percent to a three-week high, robbing the dollar of safe-haven flows.

“It’s quite telling that the dollar is weakening even as U.S. yields are rising and spreads are wide or widening in the dollar’s favor against a range of currencies,” said Osborne.

To be sure, some market participants believe the dollar’s weakness might be fleeting.

“I don’t think this marks a new downtrend and if it does I think it will be quite short lived because rate differentials still matter and U.S. fundamentals on a relative basis are still pretty strong,” said Tim Graf, State Street Global Markets’ EMEA Head of Macro Strategy.

Next week, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise benchmark borrowing costs and shed more light on its future rate path.

Traders paid attention to a European Union summit in Salzburg, Austria, where EU leaders warned British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday that she needs to give guarantees on the Irish border before they will grant her the Brexit deal she wants.

Sterling was up 0.99 percent against the dollar, boosted by optimism around the chances of a Brexit deal and forecast-beating UK retail sales data.GBP=

The Australian dollar, a proxy for China-related trades as well as a barometer of broader risk sentiment, was up 0.37 percent, near a three-week high. AUD=

The Canadian dollar strengthened to its highest in more than three months against its U.S. counterpart as investors waited for signs of a deal to revamp the NAFTA trade pact.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London; Editing by Susan Thomas