August 24, 2018 / 11:23 AM / 9 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar dips, global stocks inch up ahead of Powell speech

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018

* Dollar index down 0.2 pct

* Powell speech at Jackson Hole due at 1400 GMT

* MSCI All-Country World index up 0.1 pct

* Italy-Spain bond spread hits widest since 2012

* European oil and gas stocks gain on Norway ruling

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The dollar dipped on Friday, set for its biggest weekly decline since March as markets braced for a speech by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell for hints on the direction of monetary policy, while a gauge of global stocks inched higher.

The MSCI All-Country World index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up by 0.1 percent. Shares in Europe rose, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.2 percent on the day.

Futures indicated Wall Street was set to open higher.

Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar stood at 95.516, down 0.3 percent on the day.

The U.S. currency took a hit this week after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was “not thrilled” with the Federal Reserve under his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates.

Analysts said growing U.S. political uncertainty, reinforced by the criminal conviction of one of Trump’s ex-advisors this week, was keeping the dollar under pressure, despite the United States embarking on greater monetary tightening than elsewhere.

Another of Trump’s former advisers has pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, bank fraud and tax evasion.

“In the current state of the U.S. political system, that is dominated by doubts in the system of checks and balances, remnants of U.S. dollar negativity remain,” said Commerzbank analyst Ulrich Leuchtmann.

Powell is due to give a speech later in the day at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference of central bankers. Where he stands on the pace of interest rate hikes will be scrutinised after minutes from the Fed’s most recent policy meeting indicated the central bank would tighten monetary policy soon. Powell is due to speak at 1400 GMT.

The Fed should raise rates further this year and probably next year as well, despite Trump’s opposition to tighter policy, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said in interviews aired on Thursday.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan also said Trump’s comments would not affect the central bank’s decision making.

The dollar was 0.1 percent higher against the yen, at 111.360 yen per dollar. It was 0.4 percent lower to the euro at $1.15830.

Elsewhere in the group of G10 currencies, the Australian dollar was the biggest mover, gaining 0.6 percent on the day after the ruling Liberal party voted in a new leader.

Italian bond yields matched their highest level over Spain since 2012 as the economic and fiscal trajectories of the two countries diverge, and as investors ignored supportive comments for Italy from Trump.

Europe’s oil and gas stocks index rose 0.7 percent on the day, after a government-appointed commission in Norway recommended the country’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund continue to invest in the sector.


Earlier in Asia, stocks fell after U.S.-China trade talks ended without any progress. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.1 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.43 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent.

Australian stocks rose 0.05 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI advanced half a percent. Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.85 percent, lifted by a weaker yen.

The S&P 500 shed 0.17 percent overnight to pull back slightly from a record high scaled midweek, with industrial shares sagging after the United States and China imposed a fresh round of trade tariffs on each other.

Shares of industrial giants Caterpillar Inc CAT.N and Boeing Co BA.N, bellwethers of trade confidence, were among the biggest drags on the Dow, which lost about 0.3 percent. Caterpillar shares fell 2.0 percent, and Boeing shares fell 0.7 percent.

“Global risk sentiment remains somewhat jittery ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s speech with U.S.-Sino trade talks failing to yield any immediate progress,” strategists at OCBC Bank wrote.

Oil prices rose. Brent crude futures rose over 1 percent to $75.60 per barrel, while U.S. crude added 1.2 percent to $68.64.

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Tom Finn in LONDON and Shinichi Saoshiro in TOKYO Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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