The dollar remained steady in Asia on Wednesday morning and gained slightly against other major Asian currencies. A hawkish speech from Fed official John Williamson Tuesday reassured rate hikes this year, and eyes are on U.S.-Japan meeting this week to look for cues, with talks over trade and an upcoming summit with North Korea that could ease geopolitical strains in East Asia.
The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies steadied at 89.22 at 10:30PM ET (02:30 GMT).
San Francisco Federal Reserve’s President John Williams said he expects U.S. inflation to achieve the 2% target in his hawkish speech on Tuesday. To keep the economy from overheating, he said the Fed needs to keep raising interest rates. Williams is set to lead the New York Fed, and the market currently expects three interest rate hikes this year from the Fed.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump is meeting his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Tuesday and Wednesday. The two discussed trade and the summit with North Korea, among other things. Japan seeks to be exempted from U.S. recent steel and aluminium tariffs but Trump is unlikely to agree as he said Japan, U.S. fourth largest trading partner, “has hit us hard on trade for years”.
The USD/JPY pair edged 0.22% to 107.25. The yen is under pressured while Japanese stocks were boosted by the trade data released on Wednesday morning.
Japan’s trade surplus rose unexpectedly to JPY797 billion when it was estimated to be JPY498 billion. This was the largest trade surplus since February 2017. Its exportsincreased 2.1% year-on-year compared to the estimated 5.2%, while its imports shed 0.6%. Positive net exports may boost growth as they are one of the four indicators for measuring GDP.
In China, The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) set the fix rate of yuan against the dollar at 6.2817 versus the previous day’s 6.2771. The USD/CNY pair edged 0.05% to trade at 6.2886.
The trade disputes between the U.S. and China continue this week, as the U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it has made a preliminary determination that common alloy aluminum sheet imports from China are being subsidized, and set countervailing duties of up to 113%. In response, China said it has contingency plans and policy reserves to deal with the disputes initiated by the U.S.
Elsewehere, the AUD/USD pair shed 0.03% to trade at 0.7766.