SINGAPORE – The euro was pinned near a 22-month low on Tuesday as war in Ukraine has darkened Europe’s economic outlook, while commodity currencies took a breather in their weeks-long rally. The ruble hit a record low Tuesday while the dollar held firm against foreign currencies.
The euro was doing its best to bounce after six straight sessions of selling, but at $ 1.0855, it was not terribly far from Monday’s trough of $ 1.0806.
The common currency is down 4% on the dollar since Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine where fighting is showing no signs of abating. It flirted with parity on the Swiss franc on Monday for the first time in seven years.
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Russia-Ukraine Peace talks have made scant progress and though Germany’s opposition to a ban on Russian energy imports knocked oil futures from Monday’s 14-year peak, analysts expect the supply shock to hurt European growth.
“Markets could continue to price the risk of a disruption to Russian energy exports and downgrade the European growth outlook,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategist Carol Kong.
“As such, we expect the euro to remain under pressure. There is a reasonable chance euro / dollar tests the pandemic low of $ 1,0688 this month.”
The European Central Bank meets on Thursday with the specter of stagflation prompting economists to figure that policymakers might delay rate hikes until late in the year.
Besides commodities’ parabolic rally the conflict and subsequent sanctions have crushed Russian assets, with the ruble sliding to a record low of 160 to the dollar in erratic offshore trade on Monday.
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Elsewhere the US dollar was firm amid nerves the war and its economic consequences could spread.
Surging oil import costs already pushed Japan to its largest currency account deficit since 2014, knocking some of the luster from yen as a safe-haven.
The yen fell overnight and was a little lower still at 115.48 per dollar on Tuesday.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars were each up about 0.4% in early trade, but were below four-month highs made with soaring oil prices on Monday. The Aussie was last at $ 0.7343, about a cent underneath Monday’s top.
The kiwi bought $ 0.6847. It’s up 4.5% in just over a month as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s hiking cycle gathers pace.
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ANZ Bank analysts said on Tuesday that energy price pressure can drive back-to-back 50-basis-point hikes in April and May.