June 10, 2019
By Daniel Leussink
TOKYO (Reuters) – The Mexican peso jumped against the dollar early in Asia on Monday after the United States and Mexico struck a migration deal late last week to avert a tariff war, providing much-needed relief to fragile market sentiment.
Over the past year, trade disputes between the United States and its trading partners, including a long-running conflict with China, have slowed global growth and unsettled financial markets.
Group of 20 finance leaders on Sunday said that trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified”, raising risks to improving global growth, but they stopped short of calling for a resolution of the deepening U.S.-China trade conflict.
The Mexican peso rose as much as 2% against the dollar as trading resumed for the first time after Mexico agreed on Friday to expand along the entire border a program that sends migrants seeking asylum in the United States to Mexico. The peso was last up 1.65% at 19.30 pesos per dollar.
U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened to impose 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods starting on Monday if Mexico did not commit to do more to tighten its borders.
“We all knew that Donald Trump was unpredictable, but this was taking it to a whole new level,” said Chris Weston, Melbourne-based head of research at foreign exchange brokerage Pepperstone.
“This was political, it was social. It meant that financial markets had to wear a higher risk premium.”
Against the safe-haven yen, the dollar gained 0.2% to 108.425 yen.
The Japanese currency tends to benefit during geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world’s biggest creditor nation.
Futures for the S&P 500 were last up nearly half a percent.
Still, the dollar’s gains were checked by rising expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates during the second half of the year.
Those views were bolstered on Friday when data showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 75,000 jobs last month, much smaller than the 185,000 additions estimated by economists in a Reuters poll, suggesting the loss of momentum in economic activity was spreading to the labor market.
Fed funds rate futures are still pricing in more than two 25-basis point rate hikes by the end of this year even after their retreat early on Monday after the U.S.-Mexico migration deal.
“The market is saying it is not a question of if, it is a question of when, and to what extent, we’re going to get a rate cut for this year,” said Pepperstone’s Weston.
Against a basket of six peers, the dollar rose 0.2% to 96.716, recovering slightly after ending with a 1.2% loss last week, its worst weekly performance since the week of Feb. 16 last year.
Elsewhere in the currency market, the euro edged down 0.1% to $1.1318, retreating from an 11-week high of $1.1348 touched on Friday.
The Australian dollar was down a shade at $0.6995, giving up some of last week’s gains, when it rose 0.9%.
(Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 – http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh)
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)