The US Dollar As a Currency Safe Haven Is Feeling Less Safe

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Donald J. Trump’s presidency has been so full of departures from the norms of international relations that uncertainty has seeped into the calculation of America’s plans. That has subjected the dollar to additional skepticism, enhancing the fundamental factors pulling it down, from worries about the strength of the American economy to improved fortunes in Europe and Asia.

The dollar has in some sense become an international medium of expression about the American political environment. Its value offers a gauge of sentiment for Mr. Trump’s prospects in achieving his economic goals, as well as worries about his potentially impulsive declarations.

“At the margin, investors may be a little more cautious in treating the dollar as safe haven,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, a London-based company that handles foreign exchange transactions. “Certainly, the sentiment toward the viability of the Trump administration has not helped. There’s the risk that at 3 a.m., Trump tweets something and the dollar gets hit.”

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U.S. Markets Remain Calm, But Investors Nod to Caution

But beneath the calm there were signs that investors — who have been conditioned since the presidential election in November to embrace risk instead of running from it — are becoming more cautious.

The price of gold, a traditional safe investment, has been rising, and on Wednesday it continued its march, increasing more than 1 percent on the day.

Gold’s strong move pushed it just barely ahead of the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index for the year — up 10.75 percent, compared with 10.69 percent for the S.&P., according to Y Charts, a data-gathering company.

On Wednesday, the S.&P. 500 and the narrower Dow Jones industrial average ended the day virtually flat.

Earlier, the Nikkei index in Japan closed down 1.29 percent, while the Kospi index in South Korea ended down 1.10 percent. European stocks were also lower, with London down 0.56 percent and Frankfurt down 1.12 percent.

Prices of United States Treasury securities — often in demand in times of turmoil — rose early in the day, driving their yields, which move in the opposite direction, lower. But Treasury prices gave up ground in the afternoon, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.25 percent, from 2.26 percent on Tuesday.

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