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Dollar heads for worst week in over a year amid political uncertainty
20 May 2017, 09:15 | Jan Cross
World stocks & dollar limped toward its worst week since August as they headed for their first weekly fall in five since storm surrounding US presidency began to calm.
Trump's dismissal of Comey last week set off a political firestorm that culminated on Wednesday in Wall Street's biggest sell-off in over eight months.
This week's roller-coaster was triggered by political uproar over Trump's firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and allegations he pressed Comey to stop investigating his former national security chief and his campaign's alleged ties with Russian Federation. On the data front, Canada's annual inflation rate held steady at 1.6 percent in April, missing economists' forecasts for 1.7 percent, as higher energy prices offset a decline in food costs for the seventh month in a row, data from Statistics Canada showed.
The gradual return of risk appetite on Friday also saw investors switch from highly rated U.S. Treasuries and European government bonds into higher-yielding Italian and Portuguese debt.
In Dublin the Iseq was up 0.91pc to 6,930.76.
The three major indexes fell for the week.
MSCI's main emerging markets index clawed back some ground on Friday but it remained on track for its worst week of the year so far.
It posted its lowest close in nearly two weeks on Thursday, dragged down by an 8.8 percent slump in Brazilian stocks, on a report that President Michel Temer supported an attempt to bribe a potential witness to remain silent in the country's biggest-ever graft probe.
The Brazilian real was fractionally firmer at 3.3685 per dollar early on Friday, after an 8.5 percent plunge to its lowest level since December on Thursday. The real strengthened over 3 percent versus the US dollar after having dropped over 7 percent on Thursday.
Traders work at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, May 18, 2017. Besides worries surrounding Trump, the US currency has suffered from a resurgent euro, which has gained more than 2 percent this week."The dollar overall, across the board, has been getting beat up this week and a lot of that has to do with the political risk here in DC", said John Doyle, director of markets at Tempus Inc in Washington.
Like the dollar, the USA yield curve has slumped back to levels not seen since Trump's election, and the probability given by markets of the Fed raising rates next month has tumbled to below 60 percent from over 90 percent last week.
In commodities, oil prices continued their gains for the third straight session, set to post a 4 percent rise, on optimism that producers will agree to rein in output for longer. Expectations increased that big crude exporters will extend output cuts to curb an inventory glut.Brent crude was up 2 percent at $53.58, while US benchmark crude oil surged 2 percent to $50.34.
USA crude rose 2.15 percent to $50.41 per barrel and Brent was last at $53.71, up 2.29 percent on the day.
Brent posted its largest weekly advance of the year, while USA crude gained over 5 percent.
Benchmark 10-year note yields were unchanged on the day at 2.23 percent, after earlier rising as high as 2.26 percent.
It slumped 2 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day loss since November.
Safe-haven gold posted its best week in five as the dollar softened.
Spot gold added 0.7 percent to $1,255.37 an ounce.
The FTSE 100 shrugged off a strong pound to rise 34 points, or 0.5%, to 7,471, clawing back some of yesterday's losses and on track for its fourth week of gains. US gold futures settled up 0.06 percent at $1,253.60.
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