Protectionism worry drags on stocks, dollar hits 6-week low

Ivan Schwartz
March 21, 2017

The majority of financial leaders at the G20 expressed their concern over the global trade relations between the US and the other members, as well as President Trump's concern with a too strong US Dollar.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was flat at 100.32 after touching its lowest since February 7 of 100.020.

European stocks closed modestly lower on the day, with a 3.7-percent fall in Deutsche Bank shares hurting banking stocks.

Hedge funds and money managers slashed their net long position in COMEX gold for the second straight week in the week to March 14, and also cut long positions in silver, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. "The market wants tax reform, and you need to get healthcare done before you get tax reform".

The FTSE 100 hit record highs last week but drifted lower earlier.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.35 percent to 834.10 tonnes on Friday from 837.06 tonnes on Thursday. It edged up a basis point on Monday 20 2.51 percent.

Meanwhile, the dollar reversed early morning losses against the yen with USD/JPY 0.01% lower at 112.67 while USD/CAD rose 0.09% to $1.3359.

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Citi became the latest major bank to abandon its headline forecast for a fall in the euro to below parity with the dollar, upping its prediction for the single currency over the next six to 12 months to $1.04 from $0.98 previously.

"Even though (the Fed) hiked (rates), the perception was that they were mildly dovish".

Oil prices fell as investors continue to grapple with worries about growing US oil output and high inventories.

USA crude dropped 1.4 percent to $48.09 a barrel.

U.S. Treasury prices gained as Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans reiterated the U.S. central bank's view that two more interest rate hikes this year.

European stocks fell as much as 0.3 percent and USA futures pointed to a fall of around 0.2 percent at the open on Wall Street.

The gap between two- and 10-year yields has shrunk recently, meaning the yield curve has flattened.

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