got a lift on Wednesday after a report that Republican senators were leaning towards John Taylor
to be the next Federal Reserve
chief, while share markets turned flat after a run of highs.
Sterling got a boost after data showed Britain’s economy
picked up speed in the third quarter, bolstering the case for the Bank of England to raise UK interest rates next week for the first time in more than a decade.
On Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter said US
President Donald Trump had polled Republicans on whether they would prefer Stanford University economist John Taylor
or current Fed Governor Jerome Powell to be the next US
central bank chief, and more senators preferred Taylor.
That helped send the index that measures the dollar
against a basket of peers up 0.3 per cent, even though it had gone flat on the day against the yen at 113.92.
also got support from the yield on the US.
It was at 2.42 per cent having finally broken above the long-standing 2.4 per cent barrier this week.
For Fed-focused traders, Taylor is seen as someone who could quicken the pace of interest rate increases compared with Fed Chair Janet Yellen, whose term expires next February.
“Anything that reduces the probability of Yellen being reappointed necessarily means the Fed looks more hawkish than it would otherwise,” said the RBC’s head of currency strategy Adam Cole, in London.
“The general perception is that there’s no one more dovish than Yellen,” he said.
Elsewhere in currencies, the Australian dollar
skidded 0.7 per cent to $0.7718, touching its lowest levels since mid-July after weak consumer price figures prompted investors to pare expectations of further tightening from the Reserve Bank of Australia.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was flat as a muted open in Europe counterbalanced earlier gains in Asia.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ended the session up 0.1 per cent as India, South Korea and Indonesia all hit record highs.
But a 0.5 fall for Japan’s Nikkei stock index saw it snap out of a record 16 straight sessions of gains. That had continued after the victory of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition in Sunday’s election fuelled hopes of more cheap money policies designed to keep the yen weak.
Despite Wednesday’s share weakness, Abe’s victory should reassure overseas investors who had been concerned about policy continuity, and therefore “new money should come into the Tokyo market,” said Akio Yoshino, chief economist at Amundi Japan.
“The strength of corporate earnings should continue to support the Tokyo equity market” in the coming weeks, Yoshino said.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.1 per cent, while euro zone blue chips gained 0.2 per cent. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.1 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.4 per cent. Emerging market stocks rose 0.3 per cent. Euro zone banks were up 0.5 per cent, building on the previous session’s gains as investors anticipated Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting for the next catalyst for financials, which benefit from a rising rate environment.