Dollar stumbles


    TOKYO- The dollar wallowed near its lowest level for the week on Thursday as investors looked for hints from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the central bank might tweak its policy framework to help push up inflation.

    Powell is scheduled to address the Fed’s annual central bankers’ conference later in the day, usually held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but being conducted virtually this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    Investors are betting the US central bank will introduce a new policy framework to fight persistently low inflation as early as next month.

    “If the Fed turns out to be less dovish than many have been thinking, we could see a rally in the dollar,” said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale in Tokyo.

    The dollar’s index against six major currencies stood at 92.834, near the lowest level so far this week.

    The euro changed hands at $1.1837, near its highest level so far this week, though few market players expect a clear break from its range so far this week ahead of Powell’s speech.

    The dollar slipped to 105.90, losing steam after hitting a one-week high of 106.58 on Tuesday.

    A key focus for the yen is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s news conference scheduled for Friday amid rising speculation over his health.

    The yen is likely to gain should Abe decide to resign, given perception that aggressive monetary easing with close co-operation between the government and the central bank, dubbed Abenomics, has been one of his trademark policies, traders said.

    The British pound stood firm at $1.3213, having gained 0.9 percent since the start of week, while the Australian dollar was changing hands at $0.7241 up 1.1 percent so far this week.

    The Chinese yuan was at its strong levels since January after US and Chinese officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal earlier this week despite tense bilateral relations.

    The offshore yuan stood at 6.8774 per dollar, its highest level since Jan. 21.