Dollar holds steady after rally, catches breath ahead of new quarter


© Reuters. U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this photo illustration

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar held steady against its peers on Friday as the recovery seen earlier this week petered out ahead of the new quarter, which could potentially bring renewed pressure on the greenback.

The (), which measures the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was little changed at 90.089.

The index was up nearly 0.8 percent for the week, during which it touched a one-week high of 90.178 on factors including easing of concerns about global trade and perceived progress on North Korea issues.

“A key part of the dollar’s recent gains were quarter-end flows, with many investors seen to have closed out short positions on the currency to lift the dollar,” said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays (LON:) in Tokyo.

“It remains to be seen if the dollar can retain its gains next week when the new quarter begins, as it will no longer have support from such flows. Much of the challenging themes will remain the same in the next quarter, such as the health of the U.S. economy and trade issues.”

The dollar index was down more than 2 percent for the quarter, its fifth straight quarter of declines.

The greenback, which plumbed a 16-month low of 104.560 on Monday when trade woes roiled the global markets, was flat at 106.440 yen . It has risen 1.6 percent this week and declined 5.5 percent for the quarter.

The euro was little changed at $1.2301 (), having slipped 0.4 percent this week. The common currency was up 2.5 percent for the quarter.

The pound was steady at $1.4021 and in reach of $1.4011, a one-week low set the previous day.

Sterling has gained 3.8 percent this quarter, its best performance mid-2015, lifted by hopes for a transition Brexit deal – which was eventually agreed earlier this month – and growing expectations that the Bank of England could soon raise interest rates.

The Australian dollar was up 0.1 percent at $0.7686 , edging away from a three-month low of $0.7648 touched on Thursday, pressured by the U.S. dollar’s broad bounce and weaker prices of commodities such as iron ore.

The was down 1.7 percent for the quarter.

Major currencies were confined in a narrow range with many of the world’s key markets closed on Friday for holiday.

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