The dollar recovered most of the 2 percent it had earlier lost on Donald Trump’s shock victory in the U.S. election on Wednesday, with investors not clear on whether a Trump presidency would be unambiguously bad for the currency.
Republican candidate Trump sent shock waves around global financial markets by defeating heavily favoured Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, kindling fears of economic and political turmoil and calling into question the rise in U.S. interest rates that had been expected in December.
Markets initially entered full risk-aversion mode, with investors scurrying out of the dollar and Mexican peso – which hit a record low – and into perceived safe havens such as the Japanese yen, which gained as much as 4 percent at one point to touch a six-week high of 100.75 yen per dollar JPY=.
But despite Clinton being viewed as the status quo candidate who would leave a December Fed hike on the table, some strategists say Trump’s protectionist proposals, tax cuts and promises to make U.S. companies operating overseas bring back more of their income to be taxed could actually be positive for the dollar in the medium term, or at least not purely negative.
None of the major currency trading banks have yet updated their forecasts for the dollar.
“For now, the only thing we can be sure about is volatility – I think that is going to be high for the weeks and months ahead,” Rabobank currency strategist Jane Foley said in London.
“Like for Brexit, I think political news is going to be more of a trigger for market volatility than it used to be in a developed economy like the U.S.”
The dollar appeared to get a boost from Trump’s victory speech, during which he made no mention of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall or the NAFTA trade deal with Mexico and Canada that he has said he will scrap or renegotiate.
By 1245 GMT the dollar was down just 0.2 percent on the day against a basket of major currencies .DXY.
“He could have stood up and listed off China, NAFTA, the wall – he didn’t go anywhere on those policies, so that will be at least somewhat reassuring to markets,” said Derek Halpenny, European Head of Global Markets Review at MUFG in London.
The Mexican peso, a barometer of market expectations for a Trump presidency, plunged more than 13 percent at one point to an all-time low just below 21.00 pesos per dollar, before recovering some ground to trade around 19.72 pesos per dollar, still down more than 7 percent on the day.
The yen traded up about 1.7 percent at 103.57 yen per dollar in a volatile day that saw it soften to 105.480 earlier on, when last-minute opinion polls had put Clinton in the lead.
The mayhem in markets prompted Japan’s top currency diplomat to signal Tokyo’s readiness to intervene in currencies as the yen soared.
The greenback fell as much as 2.4 percent against the Swiss franc, another perceived safe haven, to 0.95 francs CHF=, before recovering to trade down just 0.2 percent on the day. The Swiss National Bank declined to comment on speculation that it had intervened to weaken the franc.
Trump has pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, a move that could damage the economies of the export-heavy U.S. neighbours.
The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 fell to an eight-month low of C$1.3525 per dollar, before recovering around half of the day’s losses to trade down 1 percent on the day at C$1.3420.
The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in risk appetite, slid 1 percent to $0.7690 AUD=D4.
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