The Canadian dollar set a 14-month low and the Australian dollar hit a four-month trough as oil prices slid on Friday, while the safe haven yen edged higher as risk sentiment wavered. The Canadian dollar slipped to C$1.3790 per U.S. dollar at one point, its weakest level since late February 2016. The loonie was last down 0.3 percent at C$1.3786. The Australian dollar slid to $0.7372 at one point, its lowest level since Jan. 11, last trading at $0.7381, down 0.4 percent on the day.
Commodity-linked currencies took their cues from a slide in oil prices, said Stephen Innes, a senior trader for FX broker OANDA in Singapore. “I think that’s really driving it… It’s just a direct correlation with oil prices and a little bit of risk aversion coming into the dollar/yen,” Innes said. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures slid 3 percent on the day.
The dollar fell 0.3 percent against the yen to 112.19, pulling away from a seven-week high of 113.045 yen set on Thursday. The euro touched a six-month high of $1.0990 at one point, supported by expectations that centrist Emmanuel Macron will win the final round of France’s presidential election on Sunday.
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The euro last traded at $1.0985, little changed on the day but up 0.8 percent for the week. Macron extended his lead in the polls over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, according to an Elabe poll for BFM TV and L’Express published on Friday. Macron is seen getting 62 percent of the votes in the second round versus 38 percent for Le Pen, an increase of three points for the centrist candidate compared to his projected score in the last Elabe poll.
Investors are also awaiting Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report for additional insight into the Federal Reserve’s rate likely trajectory through the end of the year. Attention will also be on Fed officials including Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, who are due to speak on Friday.
The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth, bolstering market expectations for the central bank to raise interest rates in June.
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Sam Holmes and Eric Meijer)