Dollar Up, Euro Near 21-Month Low as Ukraine Crisis Worries Linger

By Gina Lee – The dollar was up on Thursday morning in Asia. The euro was near a 21-month low over worries that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will hurt Europe’s economy, while commodity currencies were at multi-week highs as export prices surged.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies edged up 0.14% to 97.547 by 10:35 PM ET (3:35 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair edged up 0.13% to 115.65.

The AUD/USD pair edged down 0.14% to 0.7286 and the NZD/USD pair was down 0.23% to 0.6768.

The USD/CNY pair inched down 0.05% to 6.3181. Chinese data released earlier in the day showed that the Caixin services purchasing manufacturers index for February was 50.2.

The GBP/USD pair inched down 0.10% to 1.3389.

The euro managed to recover to $1.1111 in early Asian trading from its overnight low of $1.1058, the lowest since May 2020. However, it is down 1.4% for the week to date and is set for a fourth consecutive weekly loss against the dollar.

The Australian dollar, on the other hand, touched a seven-week high on Wednesday, remaining near that mark on Thursday as prices for Australian exports such as coal, gas, and grains climb. The euro is down nine sessions in a row to a four-year low of A$1.5218 against the Australian dollar.

“In the current crisis, we view the euro’s status as vulnerable,” Jane Foley, a senior FX strategist at Rabobank which is reviewing its $1.11 target on the downside, told Reuters.

“On a corporate level, there is a web of complex relationships between the European Union and Russian firms, particularly in the energy sector. Energy prices have pushed higher, as have those for many agricultural products. The war in Ukraine thus suggests higher for longer inflation and the potential of slower economic growth,” she added.

Meanwhile, Europe’s consumer price index (CPI) hit a record 5.8% year-on-year in February 2022, according to data released on Wednesday. The European Central Bank will also release the minutes from its February meeting later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday the central bank would begin “carefully” hiking interest rates in March but was ready to move more aggressively if needed. The comments were widely in line with investor expectations.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, with Kharkiv, the latter’s second-largest city, suffering heavy bombardment on Wednesday. Russian forces have also reportedly captured the Black Sea port of Kherson.

A total of 141 United Nations members passed a resolution condemning the invasion. Western sanctions have also impacted the Russian rouble and other assets. The Russian currency hit a record low of 100 per dollar in Moscow on Wednesday, before trading a little firmer at 97.999 to the dollar in interbank trade outside Russia.

Other Eastern European currencies have also taken a hit, with the Hungarian forint hitting record lows on the dollar and the euro overnight and the Polish zloty falling to a two-decade low.

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