Article Highlights

  • Dollar struggles near 2-1/2-year low vs euro
  • Latest data cloud US rate hike expectations
  • Replacement of White House chief of staff Priebus adds to political woes
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The dollar struggled on Monday, wallowing near a 2-1/2-year low against the euro, weighed down by U.S. political uncertainty and uninspiring U.S. data that added to doubts about whether there will be another Federal Reserve rate hike this year.

Growth in the world’s largest economy picked up to 2.6 percent in the second quarter, matching expectations of economists polled by Reuters, but growth in the first quarter was revised down to 1.2 percent.

U.S. labor costs also rose less than expected in the second quarter, data on Friday showed, adding to concerns that inflation will remain low.

“It is easy for uncertainty to increase about the Fed’s ability to raise rates next year if inflation remains low. We could see the dollar head below 110.00 yen under such circumstances,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior forex strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

Deepening U.S. political uncertainty was also expected to keep the greenback on the defensive.

President Donald Trump on Friday replaced his White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, installing retired General John Kelly in his place in a major shake-up of his top team.

“The replacement of Priebus could be a turning point for the Trump administration. ‘Trump risk’ could now begin to take its toll on U.S. equities, which have been doing well until now, and in turn weigh on the dollar,” Ishikawa at IG Securities said.

Hopes that the Trump administration will implement tax reforms and economic stimulus in the near future, seen as dollar-positive factors, also faded after the U.S. Senate on Friday failed to dismantle Obamacare in another political setback for the president.

The euro was steady at $1.1743, after the previous day’s surge brought it closer to $1.1777, a 2-1/2-year high set on Thursday.

The U.S. currency was down 0.15 percent at 110.525 yen after touching 110.475, its weakest since mid-June.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was 0.2 percent higher at 93.413, trimming some losses after dropping 0.6 percent on Friday.

The pound was little changed at $1.3134 and in close reach of a 10-month high of $1.3159 scaled on Thursday. Sterling has been buoyant against the broadly weaker dollar, supported by hopes that Britain will exit the European Union under a transitional deal.