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CURRENCIES : Dollar Struggles Ahead Of Last Fed Decision Of 2018; Commodity Currencies Crash

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12/18/2018 | 09:54pm CET

By Anneken Tappe, MarketWatch

Dollar rallies sharply against Norwegian krone

The U.S. dollar was struggling for direction on Tuesday, ahead of the impending Federal Reserve policy decision and as global stocks staged a tepid rebound from a multisession skid.

While the dollar benefited from haven flows during times of market stress before, this week doesn't show the same pattern. Market participants are also awaiting Wednesday's Federal Reserve monetary policy decision, at which a 25 basis point interest rate increase is expected.

Nonetheless, President Donald Trump once more reiterated that he wouldn't agree with a rate hike in a tweet Tuesday morning.

(https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1075001077576151041)

Read:Time for a Fed Pause (https://www.wsj.com/articles/time-for-a-fed-pause-11545092108)

"Criticism of the Fed is unseemly, unnecessary, and harmful. This is especially true coming days ahead of the FOMC meeting, which strikes us as taking on an air of desperation as equity markets tank," said Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. "Taking President Trump's lead, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro blamed the Fed for recent market volatility. Call us old-fashioned but the head of the National Trade Council should not be making comments on Fed policy."

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was last little changed at 97.093.

Don't miss:With a rate hike priced in, dollar traders wait for Fed's 2019 guidance

The greenback enjoyed bigger gains against commodity currencies, like the Norwegian krone , against which it jumped to an almost three-year high, as the oil prices deepened its slide into bear market, usually defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak. Crude-oil futures for January delivery finished at their lowest level since August 2017 . The buck last bought 8.7476 krone. The U.S. currency also moved higher against the Canadian dollar and Russian ruble .

More in favor among G-10 currencies were the euro , British pound , Japanese yen and New Zealand dollar .

The euro last bought $1.1357, up from $1.1348 and sterling fetched $1.2639, up 0.1% from late Monday in New York. Versus the yen, the dollar slipped to Yen112.54, from Yen112.83. The New Zealand dollar, was the strongest dollar on Tuesday even as it retraced some of its sharp rally, last fetching$0.6848, up 0.7%.

Late Tuesday, Italy's government reportedly reached an accord with the European Union with regards to its budget proposal for 2019. Rome's budget draft had initially been rejected as it proposed a budget deficit of 2.4% of gross domestic product, which would have violated EU fiscal rules.

In Brexit news, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Monday that he would bring a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May for running down the clock on a Brexit deal. While May reached an agreement with the European Union in November, she has postponed the British Parliament's vote on the deal until the week of Jan 14., which many members of Parliament consider too late.

As this would only be a no-confidence motion into the Prime Minister, a loss wouldn't trigger a fresh election. The conservative European Research Group and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, the former of which brought a vote of no-confidence against May last week, said they would support the Prime Minister.

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