Dollar, Euro Down as U.S. Refutes Russian Ukraine Claims

 The dollar was down on Thursday morning in Asia, alongside the euro. Investors are digesting U.S. doubts that Russia has withdrawn troops on the border with Ukraine, with fears of an invasion still very much alive.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched down 0.06% to 95.765 by 9:56 PM ET (2:56 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair inched up 0.91% to 115.47.

The AUD/USD pair was up 0.24% to 0.7209 and the NZD/USD pair was up 0.34% to 0.6700.

The USD/CNY pair inched down 0.07% to 6.3327, while the GBP/USD pair inched up 0.06% to 1.3590.

The euro was pinned around $1.1379 early in the Asia session. It had rallied, alongside global shares, as Russia signaled a military pullback, a step forward in the deepest regional crisis in decades. However, the U.S. said on Wednesday that the Russian statement was false.

Investors were also relieved that the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s January 2022 meeting took a much less hawkish turn than some had expected.

“The minutes did not mention any discussion about a half-point move and didn’t disclose details about the timing or the monthly pace of the planned balance sheet reduction,” Scotiabank strategist Qi Gao said in a note.

The U.S. dollar index fell about 0.2% after the minutes to 95.769 and remained close to this level on Thursday. However, it could probably slide a bit lower toward 95, according to Gao.

In Asia Pacific, Japan released  that showed the biggest trade deficit in a single month in eight years in January. The adjusted trade balance was at -JPY930 billion ($8.05 billion), while the trade balance was at -JPY2.19 trillion. Exports grew 9.6% year-on-year, while imports grew 39.6% year-on-year.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia released employment data earlier in the day that showed the employment change was 12,900 and the full employment change was –17,000, while the unemployment rate was 4.2%, in January. However, the data was not enough to lift the Australian dollar through resistance around $0.7210.

The New Zealand dollar is also in focus, with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand widely expected to hike interest rates by 25 basis points when it hands down its policy decision on Feb. 23. Swaps trade even pointed to a better-than-one-in-four chance of a 50 bp hike.

Expectations that the Bank of England will also hike interest rates in March 2022 held the pound firm. Bank of Spain governor Pablo Hernández de Cos and European Central Bank (ECB) chief economist Philip Lane will speak later in the day, with both speeches closely watched for clues on the ECB outlook.

In the U.S., Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard will also speak later in the day.

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