FOREX-Dollar edges up, euro slumps after Catalan vote
By Lisa Twaronite
TOKYO, Dec 22 (Reuters) — The dollar edged up on Friday though it remained on track for weekly losses, while the euro slumped after Catalan vote results indicated a victory for separatists in a blow to Madrid.
Spain’s government had hoped that the Catalan election would strip pro-independence parties of their control of the regional parliament and end their campaign to force a split. But with 96 percent of ballots counted in a vote to elect Catalonia’s regional parliament, separatist parties are seen winning 70 seats out of 135.
The euro was down 0.2 percent at $1.1848 after dipping as low as $1.1817 in the Asian morning session. It pared its weekly gain to 0.8 percent.
«There is support around $1.1800 level which will likely limit the euro’s downside,» said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
«This time of year, though, ahead of the holidays, many market participants are away and liquidity is thin, so we need to watch cautiously,» he added.
The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1 percent at 93.400. For the week, it was down 0.6 percent.
One immediate threat to dollar bulls was removed on Thursday, as the U.S. Senate approved a bill to fund the federal government through Jan. 19 and avert agency shutdowns ahead of a Friday midnight deadline. The bill now goes to President Donald Trump to sign into law.
Also underpinning the dollar, Congress approved the most significant U.S. tax code overhaul in three decades that was expected to give at least a short-term lift to already solid economic growth.
U.S. third-quarter data released on Thursday showed the economy grew at its fastest pace in more than two years, powered by robust business spending.
A separate report showed a jump in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, but the underlying trend in jobless claims remained consistent with a tightening labour market.
But the tax reform plan is also seen piling on at least $1 trillion to the national debt in 10 years, which helped send the 10-year Treasury yield to a nine-month high of 2.504 monero percent on Thursday. It last stood at 2.480 percent, compared with its U.S. close on Thursday of 2.483 percent.
The dollar was steady on the day against the yen at 113.32 , poised to gain 0.6 percent for the week.
«Dollar-yen trading has paused for now, with the tax bill and the shutdown bill now out of the way, and the Christmas holiday ahead,» said Kumiko Ishikawa, FX analyst at Sony Financial Holdings in Tokyo.
«After Christmas next week, the dollar could finally respond to higher U.S. interest rates, and make a move higher,» she added.
On Thursday, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reinforced expectations that the BOJ was in no hurry to move away from its ultra-loose monetary policy.
Speaking after the BOJ held interest rates steady as widely expected, Kuroda said his earlier reference to a «reversal rate» did not indicate a change in his thinking on monetary policy.
Volatile cryptocurrency bitcoin momentarily tumbled below $14,000 on the Bitstamp exchange on Friday, down roughly 30 percent from its record top near $20,000 set at the week’s start.
It was last down 5.6 percent at $14,720.
(Editing by Sam Holmes and Jacqueline Wong)