* Boehner's uncompromising comments raise U.S. debt default
* Dollar index stuck close to eight-month low
* Safe-haven yen rallies to near two-month high vs dollar
By Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, Oct 7 The dollar remained near an
eight-month low against a basket of currencies on Monday as a
U.S. budget deadlock in Congress showed no sign of breaking.
Investors flocked to perceived safe havens like the yen and
the Swiss franc, driving the dollar to it weakest since
mid-August against the Japanese currency.
As the U.S. government moved into the second week of a
shutdown and an Oct. 17 deadline to increase the nation's
borrowing limit approaches, neither Republicans nor Democrats
offered any sign of impending agreement on either the shutdown
or the debt ceiling. Both blamed the other side for the impasse.
"The safe havens, the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc,
should stand to benefit above all else if the October 17
deadline creeps forward without any tangible resolution in
sight," said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX in
New York. "The U.S. dollar should benefit too, especially
against the commodity currencies; though we would expect
dollar/Swiss and dollar/yen to remain under pressure."
The dollar index fell 0.2 percent to 79.95, not far
from an eight-month low of 79.627 hit on Thursday.
Fears have grown that a prolonged stalemate could hurt the
fragile economic recovery and could compel the Federal Reserve
to delay trimming its bond purchases, which are dollar-negative.
"Now that it's entering its second week, investors are
growing a bit more edgy and that's being played out in weaker
world stocks and the dollar staying on the defensive," said Joe
Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business
The dollar fell to as low as 96.79 yen, its lowest
since Aug. 12, before rebounding slightly to 96.92 yen, down 0.6
percent on the day.
Traders cited support at 96.67 yen, its 200-day simple
moving average. Reported large option expiries at 96.50 yen and
96.75 yen could keep the pair close to its current levels. The
dollar was also just in oversold territory against the dollar
with a 14-day exponential relative strength index reading of
Osamu Takashima, chief FX strategist at Citigroup Global
Market Japan in Tokyo, said there was a risk of the pair falling
"If the dollar falls to around 95 yen, under-hedged Japanese
exporters may try to sell the dollar, further accelerating the
The dollar fell 0.4 percent to 0.9032 Swiss franc,
slipping toward Thursday's low of 0.8965, the lowest since late
The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.3578, not far from
Thursday's eight-month high of $1.3645. The euro's rise was much
of the reason for the decline in the dollar index.
Some analysts said the dollar's losses have been limited so
far as investors still hope that politicians will find a
last-minute resolution to avert a disastrous debt default.
The last big confrontation over the debt ceiling, in August
2011, ended with an eleventh-hour agreement under pressure from
shaken markets and warnings of an economic catastrophe if a
default were allowed to occur.
A similar last-minute resolution remained a distinct
possibility this time as well.
The currency's status as a safe haven has also been
undermined by expectations that any damage done to the U.S.
economy would be countered by the Fed sticking to its stimulus.
Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank in
London, said "there is some opinion in the market that the
dollar's status as a safe haven will eventually win the day."
She said during past debt ceiling negotiations, the dollar had
stayed directionless and managed a relief rally once compromises
had been made.
"Near term, we expect the dollar index to retain a downside
bias based mainly on the perception that the Fed could decide
that delaying tapering (of quantitative easing) is necessary to
protect the economy from any negative fallout from the impasse."