Dollar surges against risky currencies over recession fears

David Hobart

Worries about the impact of a global recession were front and centre in the foreign exchange markets on Tuesday and into Wednesday – leading to a large-scale abandoning of riskier currencies.

It is now widely expected that the recession which follows the coronavirus pandemic will be one of the worst for many decades following a sustained period of lockdown in many major economies around the world.

Countries as diverse as Italy and the US have been confronted with the reality of the deadly illness, and analysts are now expecting a big economic contraction.

The US dollar has so far been the main beneficiary of this, despite the fact that it is the currency of a nation which has fallen victim to coronavirus in a particularly bad way.

The currency is largely considered to be the world’s reserve – and as many investors liquidate their assets in order to get money to manage their cash flow, they are choosing the greenback.

Currencies associated with risk due to their exposure to the global commodities markets and similar, such as the Australian dollar, was down by 0.35% over the course of the day.

It reached $0.6115 at one stage.

Over in New Zealand, the dollar there was seen at $0.5945 in this pair.

This represented a slightly smaller decline compared to the Australian currency, and in this case was just 0.3%.

In the emerging markets, the South African rand continued to see problems.

It was down by 0.7% against the US dollar, reaching 17.952.

The peso, which is the currency of Mexico just over the border from the US, was down by over an entire percentage point in the pair with its near neighbour’s currency.

It was seen at 23.960 at one stage.

In Europe, the single European currency was down by a fifth of a percentage point in its pair against the dollar.

It was seen at $1.1015 at one point.

This, however, was not its worst performance.

In many of its other currency pairs, for example, it was actually up over the course of the day – most likely because it has a high amount of liquidity.

The pound was down over the course of the day, and it lost two-fifths of a percentage point worth of value in its pair against the US dollar.

Here it was seen at $1.2376.

The dollar’s advancement in so many pairs came as the US Federal Reserve, which is the country’s central bank, began permitting central banks from across the globe the right to access dollars.

This happened by allowing foreign banks to swap any US Treasury securities they hold for what are known as “overnight dollar loans”.

The US dollar index, which is a tool used to track how the currency is doing compared to several others from across the globe, was up as well.

It was spotted up by 0.3% at one stage, which meant it was sitting at 99.290.

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