Wall Street closed slightly lower on Monday as March auto sales disappointed and investors questioned whether the Trump administration would deliver on its pro-business economic stimulus. Stocks had risen to record highs on Trump’s promises to cut taxes, ease regulations and spend heavily on infrastructure, and investors hoped that his policies would boost the economy. Also on Monday, Democrats amassed enough support to block a confirmation vote for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
The Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates alone at their 1.5% record low, a low which has been in place since August 2016. AUD/USD slipped to 0.75816 in the immediate aftermath of the policy decision from 0.76069, down 0.34%.
South Africa’s rand fell nearly 2 percent on Tuesday extending its losing streak into a seventh straight session as Standard & Poor’s cut its rating to BB+ from BBB-, taking South Africa below the line which separates investment-grade credit from the non-investment grades, popularly known as “junk”. S&P’s outlook on the country’s credit is negative. Peer Moody’s is set to give its assessment on Friday. Having been up as much as 12% against the US Dollar at one point this year, the South African currency has now notched up a 10% fall. The greenback now gets you nearly 14 Rand, from the 12 or so it bought before the current political turmoil hit.
The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and euro on Monday as uncertainty about U.S. congressional support for President Donald Trump’s choice for Supreme Court justice revived doubts about his ability to fulfil his economic agenda. In afternoon trading, the dollar fell 0.4% against the yen to 110.90.
The euro rose 0.2% versus the greenback to $1.0670, after hitting a three-week low as mixed economic data coming out of Europe added to existing worries about political risk in the euro zone. Despite increasing activity at the fastest rate in nearly six years, euro zone factories struggled to keep up with demand in March, according to a survey that showed them again hiking prices.
The GBP lost some of its momentum against the dollar, as it tumbled to a session low of $1.2466, after UK manufacturing activity slowed in March.