Dollar collapses
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John Geddie

Investors’ hopes for a fiscal boost to the world’s largest economy under Trump have been tempered by controversial and protectionist policies that have seen him suspend travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The U.S. dollar headed for its worst start to a year in over a decade on Tuesday, while world stocks cemented their biggest losses in six weeks after widespread protests against President Donald Trump’s stringent curbs on travel to the United States.

Against the safe haven yen, the dollar slipped to 113.28 yen set for a fall of over 3 percent this month

Thousands took to the streets of major U.S. cities to oppose the travel ban, which also halts refugee arrivals, while marches in Britain added to pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to cancel a planned state visit by Trump.

A stream of U.S. policymakers and business executives have also slammed Trump’s stance.

The dollar lost more ground against a basket of six major currencies on Tuesday, on track for a slump of over 2 percent this month – its worst start to the year since 2006.

Against the safe haven yen, the dollar slipped to 113.28 yen set for a fall of over 3 percent this month.

MSCI’s gauge of the world’s top 46 stock markets failed to recover any ground on Tuesday, after a 0.6 percent slide on Monday which was its largest loss in a month and a half.

Futures showed Wall Street opening around 0.2 percent lower with the 500 index set to add to its biggest daily fall in a month, seen on Monday.

“His actions over the last few days are another reminder that there were two sides to his campaign and Trump is just as adamant to follow through on those measures that will likely weigh on market sentiment in the coming months,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Benchmark German government bond yields edged higher as the euro zone posted better-than-expected inflation and growth data, a trend that plays into the hands of a minority of policymakers calling for an end to the European Central Bank’s ultra-easy stance.

European bourses clawed back some ground after big losses on Monday, buoyed by strong results from the likes of British online supermarket.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6 percent while Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.7 percent, its biggest fall in almost three months.

Supported by signs of accelerating momentum in the global economy, most stock markets remained up on the month as a whole. MSCI’s ex-Japan Asian shares index was up 5.8 percent this month while its index of world markets was up 2.7 percent.

DOLLAR RALLY OVER?

We sense the strong U.S. dollar policy is over, a thing of the past

In other currencies, the euro edged up to $1.0756 against the U.S. dollar after Trump’s trade adviser told the Financial Times that Germany was benefiting from a “grossly undervalued” exchange rate. It has bounced back from a 14-year low of $1.0340 set on Jan. 3.

“We sense the strong U.S. dollar policy is over, a thing of the past,” said Mizuho’s head of hedge fund FX sales, Neil Jones. “Recent U.S. concern over a strong U.S. dollar versus China is now feeding into the euro zone with the comment on an undervalued euro.”

The British pound fell by almost a full cent after weaker than expected data on consumer credit added to a handful of tentative signs that the UK economy may finally be slowing on the back of last year’s Brexit vote.

Elevated uncertainty about Trump’s policies, including a lack of detail so far on his plans for tax cuts and fiscal spending, is tempering optimism on the U.S. economy. Over half of the global investors polled by Reuters this month said they thought Trump’s stimulus plans would fail to meet existing market expectations.

Data on Monday showed U.S. consumer spending accelerated in December while inflation showed some signs of picking up last month.

The core PCE price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, rose 1.7 percent on a year-on-year basis after a similar gain in November.

The Federal Reserve, which starts its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged as it awaits greater clarity on Trump’s economic policies.

This piece was published in REUTERS.

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