October 2, 2017 / 1:11 AM / a year ago

Catalonia worries knock euro against stronger dollar

LONDON (Reuters) - The euro slipped on Monday after a violence-marred independence vote in Spain’s Catalonia region fueled anxiety over political risk in the euro zone, and as a renewal of the “Trumpflation trade” lifted the dollar across the board.

Dollar, Euro and Pound banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Data showing factories across the euro zone enjoyed their most productive month since early 2011 in September could provide no support to the single currency, which slipped 0.7 percent to $1.1730 EUR=, close to its lowest in six weeks.

Investors were watching the political situation in Spain nervously, after police used batons and rubber bullets to try to prevent Sunday’s banned vote in a show of force that left hundreds injured.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy now faces the country’s biggest constitutional crisis in decades, with newspaper editorials saying the ballot - in which Catalan officials said 90 percent of voters had chosen to leave Spain - had set the stage for a decisive clash with Madrid.

“After the French election, a lot of risk premium was priced out of Europe... but now we have another against-the-status-quo European vote, so for financial markets, political risks in Europe have increased,” said UBS currency strategist Constantin Bolz, in Zurich.

“There will be a little bit of noise going through the week, but overall our expectation is that it will not have a dramatic, long-lasting impact,” he added.

Against the Swiss franc, often bought at times of uncertainty, the euro dipped to its weakest in three weeks at 1.13885 francs per euro EURCHF=.


Data on Friday showed speculators’ net short bets on the dollar rose to their largest since late September 2012. [IMM/FX]

But the dollar last week recorded its strongest weekly performance of 2017, lifted by a renewed expectations that U.S. President Donald Trump would deliver the fiscal stimulus he had promised.

The greenback has also been boosted by the view that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates again before the end of the year, and might be turning more hawkish.

The index that tracks the dollar against a basket of six major currencies added 0.6 percent to 93.588 .DXY.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 112.84 JPY=.

Data released earlier on Monday showed Japan’s big manufacturers were the most confident about the business outlook in a decade in the last quarter, in a sign the country’s economic recovery may be gathering steam.

The figures could also help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he tries to convince voters in an Oct. 22 election that his “Abenomics” stimulus policies have improved their livelihoods, analysts say.

“If the results are perceived as a bad outcome for Abe’s party, then some investors might view it as the beginning of the end of his ‘Abenomics,’ meaning the end of the yen-weakening trend,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities.

“But there is another possibility as well, with both parties calling for stimulus steps, which some people think might lead to ‘helicopter money,’ so then they might sell yen.”

Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Additional reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Gareth Jones

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