By Tom Westbrook
SYDNEY (Reuters) – The dollar reached a 10-week low on Monday as investors heralded the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States by buying open currencies, amid speculation that the quiet White House could boost global trade and monetary policy would remain easy.
Biden crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win Saturday’s victory in Pennsylvania. Republicans appear to have retained control of the Senate, although the final makeup may not be apparent until the Georgia run-off election in January.
“The result is perfect from a market point of view,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. Neither party controls Congress, so trade wars and high taxes are largely off the agenda.
The prospect of further deadlock also means that expectations about a massive fiscal stimulus package in the US have been downgraded, causing bond yields to drop sharply in anticipation of less borrowing and more quantitative easing from the US Federal Reserve.
The broad dollar’s weakness had the yen
The yuan, which has been particularly affected by the election results due to the perception that Biden will take a softer or more predictable streak on China, was also boosted by strong Chinese trade data over the weekend to reach 6.5826 per dollar.
“There is likely to be some kind of deterioration in dollar weakness in terms of the Federal Reserve and also a reduction in trade tension as a positive for other currencies,” said Sean Callow, a currency analyst at Westpac.
The biggest moves were capped on Monday because currency markets largely responded to Biden’s victory on Friday and because Donald Trump, the first incumbent to lose his re-election bid in 28 years, showed no sign of conceding.
“We are warning that increased volatility is not necessarily behind us, although the election result has been fully settled,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC) currency analyst Kim Mundy in a note.
The president, who spent months trying to undermine the election results with unproven allegations of fraud, pledged on Saturday to press ahead with a legal strategy he hopes to overturn the state results that gave Biden the victory.
Traders are also concerned with the rise in coronavirus cases, as the global toll of infection surpassed 50 million on Sunday as the number of cases in the United States exceeded 10 million – sparking fears of further lockdowns.
Later on Monday, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and Chief Economist Andy Haldane appeared at 1035 GMT and 1400 GMT, as talk of negative interest rates focused. Federal Reserve Chairman Robert Kaplan in Dallas gives a speech at 2200 GMT.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is meeting on Wednesday, with expectations that it will maintain interest rates but set the framework for a turn to negative next year.
In emerging markets, the defeated Turkish lira
The lira fell 30% to its lowest level this year amid the outbreak of the Corona virus, as investors worried about declining foreign exchange reserves and double-digit inflation.