U.S. Dollar Hits 16-Month High
The U.S. dollar index hit a 16-month high on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan announced that it would be keeping monetary policy steady. Japan’s central bank also announced that it would cut its price forecasts, and it kept short-term interest rates at a target of minus 0.1 percent. The announcement confirmed market expectations that the BOJ will keep its extensive economic stimulus program going. The dollar index hit a 16-month high of 97.06 .DXY before easing slightly to 97.04 .DXY, where it was trading as of 1:57 p.m. HK/SIN.
The dollar gained against the yen, up 0.15 percent in the mid-afternoon to 113.25. It was up 0.17 percent against the Canadian dollar, to trade at 1.3127. The dollar was strengthened by continued concerns over the euro as well as U.S. consumer confidence which hit an 18-year high in October. The U.S. economy slowed less than expected in Q3, while the EU economy grew less than expected, shaking investor confidence in the region and the common currency. The euro was down 0.04 percent against the dollar on Wednesday afternoon. Also pressuring the euro was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement that she will be stepping down in 2021.
Stock Markets Crawl Back
Global stock markets bounced back on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Wall Street’s three major indexes all closing higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.77 percent, the S&P 500 closed up 1.57 percent and the NASDAQ was 1.58 percent higher. The positive turn inspired Asian markets which were broadly higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 1.94 percent in the mid-afternoon, the Shanghai Composite was up 1.64 percent and the Shenzhen Composite was up 1.49 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was also up over 1 percent.