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May 30, 2017

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Dollar ticks up after Wall Street sell-off

TOKYO--The dollar edged up against the yen in Asia Thursday after falling in U.S. trade on concerns about the U.S. banking system and tensions between Russia and the West.

The dollar was at 102.18 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, slightly up from 102.00 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The euro, which dropped Wednesday on hints from the European Central Bank that it will act to fight deflationary pressures, bought US$1.3790 and 140.92 yen compared with US$1.3788 and 140.57 yen in U.S. trade.

On Wednesday the U.S. Federal Reserve rejected capital plans from five large banks as part of its annual "stress test" of firms' ability to withstand a severe economic downturn.

The central bank said four of the five — Citi, HSBC North America, RBS Citizens Financial and Santander Holdings USA — had "qualitative" shortfalls in their capital foundations. The fifth, Zions Bancorporation, failed because its basic capital ratio was too low.

Exporters were offloading their dollar holdings as Thursday is the last day of spot trading on which transactions will be settled within the current fiscal year that ends on March 31.

Also playing on investors' nerves is the ongoing stand-off between the West and Russia following Moscow's takeover of Crimea from Ukraine this month.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Russia had moved more troops closer to Ukraine's borders in recent days despite assurances it will not invade.

Markets remain wary as U.S. President Barack Obama called for greater sanctions on Russia. Obama said Wednesday that the United States and its allies need to "step up" their commitments.

There are fears about the long-term ramifications of the stand-off, with Europe hugely reliant on Russia for its energy.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-pacific currencies.

The greenback bought 60.15 Indian rupees after briefly falling below the 60.00 mark the previous day for the first time since late July.

The Indian unit has been slowly recovering from a sell-off that had been fuelled by the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to start winding down its stimulus program.

It also rose to 11,441.50 Indonesian rupiah from 11,402.50 rupiah while inching down to 32.57 Thai baht from 32.59 baht.

The dollar slipped to 44.98 Philippine pesos from 45.04 pesos, to SG$1.2647 from SG$1.2677, and to 1,071.44 South Korean won from 1,074.38 won.

The Australian dollar soared to 92.40 U.S. cents from 91.93 cents on a brighter economic outlook of the country.

The Chinese yuan fetched 16.42 yen against 16.45 yen.

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