Dollar slips on fears over U.S. tax reform delay
The dollar slipped against most major currencies on Wednesday, weighed down by worries over possible delays to Donald Trump’s tax reform plan and evidence of the U.S. president’s waning popularity. The greenback had risen to a 3-1/2-month high against a basket of currencies in recent weeks, helped by expectations that Trump’s administration would deliver tax cuts, after the U.S. Senate approved a budget blueprint for such reforms. But the Washington Post, citing unidentified sources, reported on Tuesday that Senate Republican leaders are considering a one-year delay in the implementation of a major corporate tax cut to comply with Senate rules. Any potential delay in the implementation of tax cuts, or the possibility of proposed reforms being watered down, would tend to work against the U.S. currency, analysts said.
String of scandals trips up sterling ahead of new Brexit talks
Sterling slipped on Wednesday, with a string of scandals in the ruling Conservative party and evidence of growing doubts over Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability to deliver a good Brexit deal putting pressure on the pound. Despite Britain heading into another round of divorce negotiations with the European Union later this week in Brussels, investors’ focus was firmly stuck in London, where May’s minority government has stumbled into several controversies. The future of May’s aid minister Priti Patel was in doubt on Wednesday after reports she had held several undisclosed meetings with senior Israeli politicians during a private holiday. The controversy risks shattering May’s already dwindling authority, following a sexual harassment scandal that swept through parliament last week and led to high-profile resignations.
IMF, BOJ member say Japan needs to keep stimulus running
The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday urged Japan to maintain its massive monetary stimulus to support struggling consumer prices, a view echoed by a central bank board member, reinforcing expectations policy will remain accommodative. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda was doing the right thing by committing to keep the money spigot wide open until inflation hits his ambitious 2 percent target. Her comments come amid growing criticism that the BOJ’s huge asset purchases are distorting markets and pushing Tokyo stock prices – which hit a near 26-year high this week – beyond levels justified by economic fundamentals. “One of the strengths of central bankers is to be very clear in their communication and determined in their resolve, which clearly Governor Kuroda has demonstrated,” Lagarde told Reuters on Wednesday. With inflation distant from its target, the BOJ has said it is nowhere near dialing back its huge stimulus even as its U.S. and European counterparts eye an exit from crisis-mode policies.