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Forex - Dollar down in Asia on Trump travel ban, central banks eyed

Investing.com -

Investing.com - The dollar fell in Asia on Monday as the fallout from President Donald Trump's move to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries sparked concerns of a backlash and investors looked ahead this week to central bank decisions in the U.S., U.K. Japan and Australia.

USD/JPY changed hands at 114.43, down 0.56%, while GBP/USD rose 0.33% to 1.2590 and AUD/USD gained 0.15% to 0.7558 in a trading day with China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan shut to mark the Lunar New Year holiday. The Bank of Japan will unveil its latest policy stance on Tuesday and the U.S. on Wednesday.

The seven countries cited in his executive order-Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria and Yemen-as being part of a restrictive travel regime already in place under former president Barack Obama. But Trump's order sparked protests at airports over what was seen as targeting a religion for exclusion and by corporate leaders, including strong statements from Silicon Valley companies that have pledged support for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the order, with some executives joining protesters at airports in San Francisco and New York.

A Reuters report that five people were killed after gunmen opened fire in a Quebec City mosque during evening prayers, the mosque's president told reporters on Sunday. Earlier, a witness told Reuters that up to three gunmen fired on about 40 people inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.38% to 100.18.

In the week ahead, markets will also pay close attention to Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for January.

Last week, the dollar ended little changed against a basket of the other major currencies on Friday after weaker-than-expected figures on U.S. fourth quarter growth dampened expectations for a faster rate of interest rate hikes this year. The annual rate of economic growth slowed to 1.9% in the three months to December the Commerce Department reported Friday, slowing sharply from the 3.5% rate of growth seen in the third quarter.

The economy grew just 1.6% in 2016 as a whole, the slowest rate of growth since 2011.

The slowdown in growth prompted speculation that the Federal Reserve will avoid hiking interest rates too quickly.

Investors also remained cautious as they pondered the economic implications of President Donald Trump's pledges of increased fiscal spending, tax cuts and protectionism.

Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke by phone on Friday, a day after the Mexican president scrapped a planned meeting over Trump's demand that Mexico pay for a multibillion-dollar border wall. Mexico insists it will not pay for the wall.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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