WASHINGTON — The U.S. dollar hit its highest levels in more than a month on Monday amid concerns about China’s economy, as Wall Street struggled for a clear picture ahead of new data on consumer appetite.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, last rose 0.28% to 103.133, after hitting its highest level since July 7.
The dollar surged on news of China’s new bank lending slump in July, even as policymakers cut interest rates. Investors also worried that troubles at the nation’s largest private property developer, Country Garden, could have a chilling effect on homebuyers and financial institutions.
Country Garden shares plunged 18% to a record low on Monday after it suspended its onshore bonds for the first time.
Meanwhile, two Chinese listed companies said over the weekend that they had not received payment on maturing investment products from asset manager Zhongrong International Trust Co.
“A lot of traders are focusing on China again,” said Edward Moya, senior walk analyst at OANDA. “I think there’s so much concern with their growth prospects, with their current real estate crisis, and I think one of the biggest wealth managers who can’t pay (their) debts is a big flag red.”
All three major U.S. indexes edged higher as a 7% rise in chipmaker Nvidia helped spur growth in megacaps actionis higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 26.23 points, or 0.07%, to 35,307.63, the S&P 500 gained 25.67 points, or 0.58%, to 4,489.72 and the Nasdaq Composite added 143.48 points, or 1.05%, to 13,788.33.
The session started in the shadow of last week’s selloff in global equities as the MSCI World Stock Index, which tracks stocks from 45 countries, was last down 0.12%.
Oil prices also fell on Monday on concerns about China, as worries about the country’s ability to rebound to pre-pandemic levels outweighed gains previously posted on tighter supply.
Brent crude ended the day down 0.68% at $86.22 a barrel. U.S. crude fell 0.87% to $82.47 a barrel.
Shelters in the US also looked more appealing after Argentinian voters were surprised walks by pushing a radical libertarian outsider candidate to the top spot, straining the country’s ties.
In the aftermath, the country’s central bank planned to raise interest rates by 21 percentage points to 118% and devalue the national currency until official elections in October.
Appetite for safe havens pushed yields on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds to a nine-month high. Benchmark 10-year yields hit 4.215%, the highest since Nov. 8, before falling back to 4.186%.
Gains in the dollar and US Treasuries weighed on gold prices, which fell to more than a month low on Monday. Spot gold prices were last down 0.36% at $1,906.20 an ounce.
This week’s new economic data includes US retail sales on Tuesday. Consumers are expected to show a 0.4% increase in spending, but that could increase, thanks in part to Amazon’s Prime Day. The US retail giants are also due to release quarterly reports this week.
A solid report on expenses could call into question walkthe benign outlook for US rates, with futures implying a 70% chance that the Federal Reserve will be finished rising in its bid to bring inflation under control. THE walk also has more than 120 basis points of price cuts for next year starting around March.
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