Dollar turns lower against major rivals on fresh U.S. election jitters

November 2, 2016 8:23 PM EDT

Euro and Dollar banknotes are seen in a picture illustration taken October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger


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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar hovered near multi-week lows against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, ending a morning reprieve which saw the dollar stabilize, on uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was last down 0.24 percent at 97.163, not far from a more than three-week low of 97.041 also touched Thursday. The index was mostly flat to slightly higher earlier, reaching a session high of 97.456.

Analysts attributed the dollar's earlier stability to a New York Times/CBS poll of 1,333 registered voters that found U.S. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ahead by 3 percentage points. In addition, a Washington Post/ABC poll showed Clinton 2 percentage points ahead among 1,767 likely voters surveyed Oct. 29-Nov. 1.

Analysts said, however, that traders continued to prepare for the risk of a victory from Republican candidate Donald Trump. Clinton has been viewed as the candidate of the status quo, while many fear that a victory for Trump would carry global risks to trade and growth.

"We're now seeing markets price in a higher risk of a Trump presidency," Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. "Most polls are still showing that it's far too close to call, and that's ultimately what is keeping investors nervous."

The euro was last up 0.14 percent against the dollar at $1.1110 after falling 0.3 percent earlier to a session low of $1.1060. The euro hovered near a session high of $1.1126 touched in early trading, which was the highest since Oct. 11.

The dollar was last down 0.37 percent against the yen at 102.91 yen, not far from a one-month low of 102.56 yen touched early Thursday.

The Mexican peso strengthened against the U.S. dollar, bouncing back from a low of 19.5450 pesos per dollar to last trade up more than 1 percent at 19.1610 pesos, putting it on course for its best day in more than two weeks.

While general uncertainty made traders nervous about the dollar against major rivals, the Mexican peso jumped more specifically on the polls showing Clinton's lead, said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at WorldWideMarkets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

A Trump victory has been viewed as a key risk for the Mexican currency, given the candidate's promises to clamp down on immigration and rethink trade relations.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Yumna Mohamed in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sandra Maler)



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