Dollar weakness drove down Asia Pacific equities during the Monday morning session while sovereign bonds and gold enjoyed marked gains as investors in the region came to grips with the implications of President Donald Trump’s failure to repeal Obamacare.
The dollar was down against a variety of currencies in morning Asia trade as investors in the region tempered expectations of pro-business reforms from the Trump administration after Republicans failed to unify around health care reforms last week.
The dollar index tracking the US currency against a basket of peers was down 0.4 per cent early in the morning session at 99.3, dropping further below the psychologically important 100-point mark and to the lowest level since February 2.
Japan’s yen was leading gains on the greenback with a climb of 0.8 per cent to ¥110.44 per dollar, the strongest level since November 22. South Korea’s won was up nearly as much with a rise of 0.7 per cent to Won1,114.60 per dollar, near a five-month low.
The euro was up 0.4 per cent on the dollar at $1.0842, the strongest level since December 8, while the the pound had firmed 0.3 per cent to $1.2513, nearly erasing Friday’s softening of 0.4 per cent.
The Australian dollar was less invigorated by the weakness in its US counterpart, trading flat at $0.7618. Among major currencies only the Mexican peso was weaker against the greenback, off 0.3 per cent at 18.8112 per dollar.
Asia Pacific equities were faring badly at the week’s outset, with Japan-listed stocks feeling the squeeze from renewed yen strength.
Tokyo’s Topix index was down 1.4 per cent in morning trade, with losses across the board led by falls of 2.1 per cent in real estate and 1.9 per cent in financials.
Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 was under pressure despite the Aussie dollar’s lack of movement, with a 1.6 per cent fall in the materials segment helping to pull the benchmark index down 0.5 per cent.
Hong Kong stocks were little helped by their currency’s dollar…