Commodity-related sectors led European shares lower for a third straight session on Friday while the dollar was poised for a weekly losses as the “Trumpflation trade” lost momentum.
World stocks have hit record highs, emerging markets have come back in favor and the dollar has climbed to a 14-year peak in recent weeks on the back of expectations that U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic agenda will stoke growth and inflation.
New U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the edge off that optimism overnight when he said any policy steps by the Trump administration would probably have only a limited impact this year.
The comments, made in his first televised interviews since taking office last week, suggested much work was still needed on a sweeping tax reform plan that Mnuchin called his main priority.
They knocked the dollar back and it was trading down 0.2 percent against a basket of other major currencies at 100.82, leaving it slightly down on the week and facing its first weekly loss in three.
“Mnuchin’s comments were less belligerently reflationary than they could have been, in a dollar strength context, and that probably did much of the damage (to the dollar),” said UBS Wealth Management currency strategist Geoffrey Yu, in London.
“But ultimately outside of the U.S. there is reflation happening and data is looking strong, so perhaps it’s time to just take some dollar longs off the table… We need additional information to sustain (the Trumpflation trade).”
Subdued forecasts from European bluechips including BASF and Vivendi and a drop in mining shares following overnight declines in metals prices dragged the benchmark STOXX 600 index down 0.3 percent.
Shares of Standard Chartered fell more than 5 percent after results.
London copper prices recovered slightly from their big overnight fall on the back of fresh doubts about Chinese demand. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 was up 0.8 percent at $5,907 a tonne by 0700 GMT after falling 3 percent in the previous session.
Gold hit its highest in about 3-1/2 months on a weaker dollar and safe-haven demand. Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,254.10 per ounce.
Benchmark Brent crude oil was down 48 cents at $56.10 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate traded at $54.06 a barrel, down 39 cents.
(Reporting by Vikram Subhedar; editing by John Stonestreet)