By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar fell broadly on Wednesday, sliding to two-week lows against the yen and a more than one-week trough versus the euro amid growing political tension in Washington.
The greenback in May posted its worst monthly performance against the euro in more than a year, even as the European Central Bank committed to keep its stimulus plan in the region.
Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar ended the month with its largest monthly percentage loss since January.
“The dollar remains pressured by the mounting dysfunction in Washington that has all but eliminated hopes for a bold fiscal stimulus package from the Trump administration,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
President Donald Trump’s administration has been the focus of independent investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several congressional panels over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion by the Trump campaign.
U.S. economic data, meanwhile, was mixed on Wednesday.
Pending home sales fell for a second straight month in April, hindered by a lack of supply, while an index of U.S. Midwest manufacturing activity rose in May. [nN9N1HR020}
These reports though have little bearing on expectations for next month’s expected tightening by the Federal Reserve, although the number of hikes this year is still up for debate.
Currently, futures markets have priced in an 86 percent chance the Fed will raise rates by 25 basis points in June, but much could change depending on economic data in the run-up to that meeting, most notably Friday’s jobs report.
A Reuters poll showed Wall Street economists forecasting 185,000 new jobs in May.
Britain’s pound, meanwhile, recovered on Wednesday after a poll showed the country’s ruling Conservative party still in the lead, overriding a previous projection of a hung parliament in elections next week.
In late trade, the dollar was down 0.1 percent at 110.67 yen after earlier falling to two-week lows <JPY=>
The euro was up 0.5 percent at $1.1236 <EUR=>, while the dollar index fell 0.3 percent to 96.99.
“Euro/dollar has now formed a strongly bullish technical trend that spans the past two months,” said James Chen, head of research at Forex.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Sterling was up 0.2 percent at $1.2883 <GBP=>.
In China, the yuan surged to a more than six-month high against the dollar on views the Chinese central bank is now less inclined to markedly weaken its currency against the greenback. <CNY/>.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Chizu Nomiyama)