Dollar falters on bets Fed will pause U.S. rate hikes

U.S. jobs data dovish Fed comments boost equitiesMore

U.S. jobs data dovish Fed comments boost equitiesMore

The Federal Reserve may only need to raise interest rates once in 2019, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said on Monday, focusing on business executives' nervousness about the economy and a global slowdown as factors that may hold the U.S. central bank back. On Friday, gold futures ended down $9.00, or 0.7%, at $1,285.80 an ounce.

Financial markets are also optimistic about a meeting of U.S. officials and their counterparts in Beijing this week, the first face-to-face talks since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on December 1 to a 90-day truce in their trade war.

The Australian dollar, whose fortunes are closely correlated with China, gained half a percent to $0.7140.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted on Monday that Beijing and Washington could reach a trade deal that "we can live with".

Japan's Nikkei shot up 2.8 percent, while South Korea added 1.2 percent.

Risk appetite got a huge boost on Friday when the USA payrolls report showed 312,000 net new jobs were created in December, while wages rose at a brisk annual pace of 3.2 percent.

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On Friday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told the American Economic Association that the US central bank is not on a preset path of interest rate hikes and that it will be sensitive to the downside risks markets are pricing in. Subsequently, some key officials, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the bank would be flexible with regard to future policy stance.

Silver was little changed at $15.64 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.4 percent to $819.10, after hitting its highest in more than a month at $831.10 on Monday.

"The question now is just how much more dovish markets can get in terms of rate hike expectations", he said, adding that investors "are now pricing in a December rate hike and only one more rate hike in 2019".

The Fed raised rates four times in 2018. That compares with the mid-2000s, when the Fed increased the benchmark rate by 4.25 percentage points over two years.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch noted global equity markets had lost $19.9 trillion since January a year ago, and a record $84 billion had flowed out of stocks in just the past six weeks.

"Our Bull & Bear Indicator has fallen to an "extreme bear" reading, triggering the first "buy" signal for risk assets since June 2016", they wrote in a note.

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Financial markets have been rattled by heightened worries about slowing global growth, especially in the United States and China, though data on Friday showed strong US job growth.

On Monday, U.S. stocks edged higher as investors turned their attention to the latest round of U.S. The Aussie was up at $0.7137 on Monday, having briefly dived as deep as $0.6715 last Thursday.

The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, traded marginally lower at 96.76 in Asian trade.

Waning expectations of a US rate hike boosted the euro, which rose 0.7 percent to $1.1475.

But analysts expect interest rate differentials between the USA and Japan to support the dollar/yen in the next couple months. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 56 cents to settle at $48.52 a barrel, a 1.17 percent gain.

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