Rumours that Mr Cohn plans to quit his role in the White House raised fears that US President Donald Trump's pro-business plans could be derailed, while a terror attack in Barcelona killing at least 13 people added to the downbeat tone in financial markets.
Wall Street stocks were in the red all session, initially due to anxiety over rumors White House economic advisor Gary Cohn would resign due to unhappiness over Trump's response to a violent rally by racist groups over the weekend.
The New Zealand dollar has slipped back below US73 cents as investors' appetite for riskier assets waned as rumours circulate that the USA national economic council chief Gary Cohn might resign and as Spain became the latest target of a terror attack.
Corporate chief executive officers had started to quit the panels in protest over Trump's remarks that appeared to confer legitimacy on white supremacists following a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. A Trump administration official has called a reporter up and had a very candid, shall we say, colorful conversation, which he maybe did, maybe didn't think was on the record.
Trump waded back into the racial controversy Thursday morning with a series of tweets criticizing those who would remove statues of Confederacy heroes. One counterprotester was killed and at least 19 others were injured when an OH man rammed them with a vehicle.
The ECB news came a day after Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed some policymakers cautioning against rate increases while US inflation remained weak. It's now down about 0.6%, hovering near intraday lows.
The dollar weakened as much as 0.5 percent versus the yen, after trading little changed before the speculation began.
USA equity losses deepened on news that a driver deliberately slammed a van into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street in what police said was a "terror attack".
Trump had tapped NY developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, whom he described as friends, to lead the panel, which he established by an executive order on July 19. Cohn leaving the White House could create significant doubt that the expected business-friendly and economically-stimulative policies on taxes and infrastructure promised by Trump would actually materialize. As long as Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remain with Trump, the administration will continue to be a competent congressional partner on tax legislation, Haines said.
"Cohn is a key member of the administration who is determined to press forward with tax reform". "His departure would surely dampen Wall Street's already dwindling confidence in Washington's capacity to govern".