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Dollar edges up, on track for third straight day of gains

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Euro, Hong Kong dollar, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, pound and Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in this picture illustration, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar edged lower on Friday following two straight days of gains, as prices of energy and other commodities retreated from a run higher.

Oil prices were down about 2% on Friday, after a partial export resumption from Kazakhstan’s CPC crude terminal eased supply concerns, while the European Union remained split on whether to impose an oil embargo on Russia.

The war in Ukraine and resulting rise in commodity prices has added to already rising inflation.

“Everything in these commodity markets, everything is done in dollars so as we see a little bit of a pullback here in commodity prices, that is going to coincide with a little bit of softness for the dollar,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst, at Oanda in New York.

“Until we have a major geopolitical development you are probably going to see just choppiness from here on out.”

The dollar index fell 0.112%, with the euro up 0.18% to $1.1016.

Economic data pointed to rising prices and interest rates starting to weigh on economic activity.

The National Association of Realtors said on Friday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on signed contracts, fell 4.1% in February, its fourth straight month of declines and below expectations of a 1% gain. The housing market has cooled following a shortage of properties, while high prices for homes and rising mortgage rates could continue to sap demand.

The University of Michigan’s final March reading of consumer sentiment slipped to 59.4, below the 59.7 estimate and the final February reading of 62.8, while its one-year inflation expectations index was at its highest since November 1981.

Even with Friday’s decline, the greenback is poised for a solid gain this week, which would mark its sixth weekly gain in the past seven. The dollar has benefited from its status as a safe haven and the conflict in Ukraine has driven expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates.

Following on from other analysts that have raised expectations for a more aggressive Fed, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) on Friday said it expects two hikes of 50 bps each at its June and July meetings with “risks” of those being pulled forward into May and June respectively.

Citi also revised its Fed policy path higher for rate hikes, expecting 50 basis point hikes at the May, June, July and September meetings this year.

The euro edged higher on Friday, but was on pace for a slight weekly decline, and concerns about a slowdown of the economy were likely to keep it in a tight range.

German business morale deteriorated in March due to worsening supply chain issues resulting from high petrol prices and driver shortages, a survey showed on Friday.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.28% versus the greenback at 121.99 per dollar after hitting a fresh low of 122.43, the weakest in more than 6 years, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3201, up 0.14% on the day.

The yen has been under pressure, with the Bank of Japan expected to keep its soft monetary policy in place, in contrast to most other central banks around the globe.

Dollar dips after two days of gains as commodity prices ease

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