Euro edges down as dollar extends recovery, with focus on Fed minutes

Euro edges down as dollar extends recovery, with focus on Fed minutes

USA stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of a meeting minute from the Federal Reserve. World stocks looked set to fall for a third straight day.

Over the past week, the dollar has inched higher from a three year low in the US dollar index, which measures the almighty buck against a basket of six currencies.

The euro edged 0.41 percent lower to $1.2286.

The Fed on Wednesday released the details of last month's policy meeting, which kept the key interest rate unchanged.

With yields and the U.S. dollar higher, and with USA stocks staging a dramatic late reversal, it looks set to be an interesting day in Asia. Wall Street initially welcomed the report but soon enough U.S. Treasury yields spiked to their highest level in four years, snuffing out the market rally in a sign of renewed worries about rising inflation.

Devon Energy slid 11.8 percent after the energy company disclosed a smaller-than-expected profit and 2018 forecast that raised concerns with analysts.

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But that turned out to be a knee-jerk reaction as they have fallen significantly since then - after USA 10-year treasury bonds lifted to a four-year high of 2.952 per cent. The two-year Treasury yield touched 2.282 percent, the highest since September 2008.

Morgan Stanley argued on Friday that the imminence of increased US Treasury short-tenor issuance "has helped to flatten the US yield curve, providing another indication for Dollars weakness". The Treasury Department has issued more debt in anticipation of a higher deficit from last year's major tax overhaul and a budget deal that will increase federal spending over the next two years.

Crude oil prices also moved sharply lower ahead of the release of USA inventory figures expected to show a rise in crude oil stockpiles in the week to February 16. Oil prices were also lower, with U.S. WTI futures trading down 50 cents per barrel to $61.29 and Brent crude futures down 38 cents per barrel to $64.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed most of its gains from earlier in the day.

Trading in Chinese financial markets will resume on Thursday after being shut for the past week for the Lunar New Year. The kiwi had fallen against the Aussie yesterday after the release of ostensibly stronger wage data but the Australian dollar subsequently dropped after figures showed the seasonally adjusted estimate for total construction work done fell 19 percent in the December quarter.

The dollar extended an overnight surge and gained 0.45 percent to 107.800 yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.1 percent to 31,076.62 but the Shanghai Composite rose 1.6 percent to 3,250.64, fueled by pent-up demand from investors in mainland China, where markets reopened after a weeklong holiday.

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