By Tom Westbrook
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar hovered near a one-month high on Tuesday as investors opted for caution in the hours ahead of polls opening on election day in the United States.
Traders are on edge over the result and rather than betting outright on a particular outcome, many have lately flocked to the safety of dollars so that they are well positioned to take advantage of volatility when results arrive.
Against a basket of currencies (), the dollar held at 94.050, just below a month-high hit on Monday. The safe-harbour yen
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar
“We have pared back a lot of our positions,” said Stuart Oakley, a London-based executive at Nomura.
“It’s a bit reckless to position ourselves for one outcome of the election… We’ve positioned ourselves to trade the post (election) volatility.”
Opinion polls have consistently showed Democrat challenger Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump. Analysts said a Biden win could weaken the dollar as he intends to spend big on stimulus, while a steadier foreign policy could lift trade-exposed currencies.
But with battleground states too close to call and with the prospect of either a Trump victory or an inconclusive result likely to support the dollar, moves on Tuesday were slight.
The New Zealand dollar
Beneath the steady spot prices, volatility gauges are soaring in an indication that things could get bumpy as election results arrive through the Asia session on Wednesday.
One-week implied volatility for the euro
“The risk of a period of heightened currency volatility appears to be more certain,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:) currency analyst Kim Mundy in a note to clients.
“We see a risk early results and exit polls give opposing signals on election day, boosting currency volatility during tomorrow’s Asia session.”
Besides results, which are not due until the middle of Asia’s trading day on Wednesday at the soonest, investors are closely watching the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) policy decision at 0330 GMT.
The RBA has flagged policy easing and economists polled by Reuters expect that to take the form of a 15 basis point rate cut to a record low 0.1% and a government bond-buying programme.
“NAB’s assessment is that the RBA will need to convince the market they are prepared to buy at least A$150 billion worth of bonds to justify the yield declines already seen over the course of October,” said NAB head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill.
“Otherwise the market, be it bond yields or AUD, risks a ‘buy the fact’ response, having sold the rumour during October.”
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.