The dollar fell sharply against a basket of other currencies on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said that the U.S. dollar had become too strong and that he preferred interest rates to be at a lower level.
President Trump also directly commented about Janet Yellen, saying he had not ruled out another term as Federal Reserve (Fed) chairwoman. The markets took this as a signal that the Trump administration may be moving closer to a more conventional money policy stance, and would keep the current status quo at the Fed.
Donald Trump broke with a long-standing tradition that the U.S. President would not comment on domestic fiscal policy set by an independent Federal Reserve. The subject of the value of the currency is usually reserved for the U.S. Treasury secretary to comment on.
The forex markets and metals bore the brunt of Donald Trumps comments, with the U.S dollar weakening against the euro and British pound. The EUR/USD moved past the 1.0670 level on Wednesday as the British pound surpassed the 1.250 level and moved towards the 1.257 resistance.
Traders also sold the U.S. dollar against commodity currencies, sending the Australian dollar towards the 0.76 handle, and the New Zealand dollar higher towards 0.70 cents. The Australian dollar had been largely sold since the beginning of April and remained subdued during the early stages of last week around monthly lows before Donald Trump’s comments.
Gold moved strongly during all of the past week, moving beyond the $1,255 per ounce level against the U.S dollar on Wednesday, and continued with gains until the end of the week to $1,287.39 per ounce as traders sold the dollar and moved into the yellow metal following the U.S. President’s remarks.
The week was also dominated by a risk off tone in financial markets, as the Japanese yen reached five-month lows. Investors became increasingly concerned about possible U.S. military action against Syria and also escalating Russian and North Korea tensions.
Markets turned their attention to the U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who travelled to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. There was discussion on the war in Syria, and how the two countries could work together to resolve the situation. Mr Tillerson stated the United States must see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad eventually relinquish power in Syria.
The UK economy continued to deal with the aftermath of Brexit, with inflation remaining high for the month of March. On Tuesday the release of data by the UK National Statistics revealed a strong 2.3% Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the last twelve months as the weak British pound caused an increase in the price of imported goods for the UK consumers. Markets remained relatively quiet as the week came to a close, ahead of the long bank holiday weekend.