The U.S. dollar traded lower against its major opponents in Asian deals on Monday as investors bet on risk-sensitive currencies on receding worries about the global economy after China reported encouraging economic reports over the weekend and global regulators agreed on new capital rules. The greenback declined to new multi-day lows against the euro and the pound.
China’s industrial production expanded at a faster-than-expected 13.9% in August compared with a year ago, showing that the world’s second-largest economy continued to maintain economic momentum despite a government clampdown on bank lending and property speculation. However, inflation quickened to a 22-month high, reflecting adverse weather conditions that led to higher food prices.
The euro also gained on news that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision agreed Sunday on a regulation known as ”Basel III,” requiring banks to have more capital as part of international efforts to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.
The Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee, on Sunday agreed to substantially raise the amount of capital that banks must set to aside against potential losses. Internationally active banks must now hold a minimum 7% of assets as common equity – significantly higher than the international standard of 2%.
If common equity levels fall below the minimum levels, regulators could force banks to hold back more of their earnings in reserves and suspend dividend payments and loan portfolios.
The rules will come into effect in 2013, by when banks are expected to set a minimum of 3.5% of assets aside as common equity, and will be gradually phased in over the next decade.
Asian stocks advanced today. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 2%, China’s Shangai composite index soared 0.9%, New Zealand’s NZX 50 index gained 0.6%, South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.9%, Taiwan’s main index soared 2.5%. Australia’s S&P 200 index and the All Ordinaries index gained 1.2% each.
Following strong Asian equities, the European stocks too opened higher today. Germany’s DAX gained 0.7% in early deals, France’s CAC 40 index soared 1.1% and U.K.’s FTSE 10 index advanced 0.8%.
The greenback weakened against the euro and the British pound in Asian deals today. Around 2:30 am ET, the greenback dropped to fresh multi-day lows of 1.2835 against the euro and 1.5481 versus the pound, compared to last week’s closing values of 1.2712 and 1.5359, respectively. As of now, the dollar is worth 1.2824 against the euro and 1.5470 versus the sterling.
On the economic front, France’s current account balance, which is the broadest measure of the country’s trade balance, recorded a smaller deficit in July than in June, official figures showed today.
The Bank of France said a current account deficit of 2.2 billion euros was recorded in July. This compares to a 2.7 billion euro-deficit in the previous month.
Against its Swiss and Japanese counterparts, the dollar plunged further in today’s early European session and fell to 1.0118 and 83.85, respectively, by about 2:30 am ET. As of now, the greenback is trading at 1.0139 against the franc and 84.00 versus the yen.
After edging up to 1.0348 at about 1:25 am ET, the greenback traded lower against the Canadian dollar and slipped to 1.0316 within 1-1/2 hours.
The US currency also slipped against the Australian and New Zealand rivals today. At present, the greenback is trading near a 4-1/2 – month low of 0.9325 against the Aussie and more than a 1-month low of 0.7326 versus the kiwi.
The U.S. monthly budget statement for August is due for release at 2:00 pm ET.