NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Monday, undermined by recent soft U.S. economic data that tempered expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike this year.
The dollar, which has fallen in four of the last five trading sessions, also slipped against the yen, a trend that has been in place for much of this year, with investors generally underwhelmed by Japan’s recent stimulus measures.
“Lower expectations of a U.S. rate hike have been prompted by an overwhelming trend of global monetary easing by major central banks, as well as some very recent U.S. data that has shown some unexpected weakness,” said James Chen, head of research at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Federal funds futures implied traders saw a roughly 43 percent chance on Monday that the central bank would increase rates at its December policy meeting. That was down from 45 percent late on Friday.
Traders said the minutes from the Fed’s July policy meeting, due to be released on Wednesday, could give investors more clues as to the direction of monetary policy.
The Fed raised rates in December for the first time in nearly a decade and signaled it would do so four more times this year. It scaled that back due to a global growth slowdown, financial market volatility and generally muted U.S. inflation.
The Labor Department is due on Tuesday to release consumer price data for July. The forecast is for consumer inflation to be unchanged last month, down from 0.2 percent in June, according to a Reuters poll.
Annual headline inflation is also expected to slow amid lower oil prices.
Productivity data last week indicated subdued inflationary pressures, underpinning expectations the Fed will be in no hurry to raise rates.
Markets, meanwhile, showed little overall reaction to data on Monday showing Japan’s economy expanded 0.2 percent year on year in the second quarter, well below expectations for a 0.7 percent expansion.
The U.S. currency was flat against the yen at 101.26 yen JPY= after losing 0.6 percent on Friday, when U.S. retail sales and producer prices came in weaker than expected
“As long as markets continue to bet against a Fed rate hike anytime soon and the yen continues to ignore Japan’s efforts to weaken it, dollar/yen could have significantly further to fall,” said Forex.com’s Chen.
Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Paul Simao and Chizu Nomiyama
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