The subdued performance in the markets could be due to investors awaiting bigger news due later in the week, National Australia Bank Currency Strategist Rodrigo Catril suggested in a Tuesday morning note.
“It has been a quiet overnight session ahead of what could be a stormy Thursday, with the European Central Bank, U.K. election and (James) Comey’s testimony all occurring on the same day,” Catril said.
The dollar was marginally higher against a basket of six major currencies ahead, off the seven-month low seen last Friday. The dollar index traded at 96.8 at 6:30 a.m. HK/SIN.
The British pound hit a ten-day high in the overnight session ahead of the U.K. election later this week, fetching as much as $1.2908 compared to levels around the $1.28 handle seen last week. Cable last traded at $1.2906.
Meanwhile, the yuan gained against the dollar after the People’s Bank of China set the yuan reference point near a seven-month high of 6.7935 to the dollar. The central bank lets the yuan spot rate rise or fall a maximum of 2 percent against the greenback, relative to the official fixing rate. The on-shore yuan traded at 6.8030 to the dollar. In the offshore market, the yuan traded at 6.7812 to the dollar.
In energy news, oil prices declined almost 1 percent after an initial rise following news that Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East had severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. Qatar is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.
Brent crude settled 0.96 percent lower at $49.47 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was off by 0.55 percent at $47.40. U.S. gasoline futures tumbled 2.5 percent to settle at $1.5381 a gallon, Reuters reported.
On the economic calendar today are Q1 balance of payments out of Australia at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision is due 12:30 p.m.