Dollar Tumbles by 0.1% As Bitcoin Shines


The American dollar slumped on Monday, December 11, on disappointing U.S. wages data that analysts said could weigh on the pace of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve next year.

The dollar dipped 0.1 percent to 93.801 .DXY against a basket of major currencies, pulling away from a two-week high hit on Friday.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, bitcoin stole the spotlight, as futures of the cryptocurrency began trading on Cboe Global Markets.

U.S. employment data on Friday showed a bigger rise in jobs than expected in November, but pay growth remained moderate. The annual increase in wages rose to 2.5 percent, from 2.3 percent in October.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates at its two-day policy meeting that will end on Wednesday, and is seen as possibly tightening two or three times in 2018. But still-sluggish inflation and wage growth has clouded next year’s policy outlook.

“I think this is being driven by the softer earnings data we saw in the payrolls report on Friday which reinforces the Fed’s current policy dilemma, where yes we have solid growth but so far a lack of inflation pressure,” said MUFG currency strategist Lee Hardman.

“It was a continuation of the ‘Goldilocks’ conditions, with stronger global growth but little inflation pressure, no strong pressure on central banks to speed up the pace of tightening.”

Bitcoin was up around 12 percent at $16,422 BTC=BTSP on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, just shy of an all-time high of $16,666.66 hit on the exchange on Friday.

The first bitcoin futures <0#XBT:> began trading on Sunday at 6 p.m. (6.00 p.m. ET) on CBOE Global Markets Inc’s CBOE Futures Exchange. The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The most-traded futures contract opened at $15,460 before leaping to a high of $18,700 – a gain of 21 percent. They last stood at $17,770.

“Regardless of what side of the debate you’re on, what’s undeniable is that the current euphoria and the extreme levels of price volatility offer the brave of heart some excellent speculative opportunities,” Stephen Innes, head of Asian trading at currency broker Oanda said in a note to clients.

The euro inched up 0.1 percent against a stronger dollar to $1.1791 EUR=, holding above its nearly three-week low of $1.1730 plumbed on Friday, ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting this week at which rates are expected to be kept on hold, Reuters reports.



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