Emerging-market currencies weakened against the dollar, with China’s yuan at its lowest since October 2012, and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures dropped on speculation rising U.S. inflation will spur interest rate increases. Oil in New York held below $50 a barrel.
The greenback was 0.2 percent stronger against the yuan by 12:20 p.m. in Tokyo and added at least 0.2 percent versus the currencies of South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is set for an eighth monthly advance. Contracts on the S&P 500 dropped 0.2 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index held a 4.3 percent February gain. U.S. oil traded at $48.73 while Brent was at $60.70 in London, the biggest gap in more than a year.
A bigger-than-forecast increase in U.S. core inflation sent the dollar soaring Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled this week that while inflation is still too low for an imminent rate increase, the bank’s patience has limits. U.S. fourth-quarter economic growth may be revised down today. Declining North American rig counts have failed to dent record crude surpluses, obliterating gains for the U.S. oil benchmark as signs of recovery in overseas markets send Brent to its biggest monthly advance in almost six years.
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