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Dollar rebounds as Brainard assures markets Fed will stay the course

Published 04/11/2022, 09:58 PM
Updated 04/12/2022, 04:15 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar banknotes are displayed in this illustration taken, February 14, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Hannah Lang

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The dollar rebounded on Tuesday after digesting slightly softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data, while the euro extended losses ahead of a policy-setting meeting at the European Central Bank.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Tuesday that there were some signs of “welcome” cooling in the latest inflation readout, but emphasized that the central bank is still proceeding with a series of interest rate hikes, as well as an effort to trim its balance sheet.

"I'll be looking to see whether we continue to see moderation in the months ahead," Brainard told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, referring to inflation in the "core" goods category.

The U.S. Consumer Price Index showed that prices rose 8.5% in March compared with a year ago, boosted by the soaring cost of gasoline but tempered by a moderation in prices of used cars and trucks. The core CPI fell short of estimates, landing at 6.5%.

Brainard’s comments highlighted that the Fed “is not pivoting at this point,” providing an assurance for the greenback after a morning of choppy trading, said Bipan Rai, head of FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

“The path of least resistance is still for tighter policy, and also for an aggressive unwind of the balance sheet, and as a result of that, I think the dollar is stabilizing a little bit,” he said.

The dollar index rose 0.26%, with the euro down 0.51% to $1.0828.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields eased to 2.727%, after reaching 2.793% on Monday, the highest since January 2019.

The inflation numbers initially suggested the Fed might not need to be as aggressive in the second half of this year as some had originally expected, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“While this doesn't change anything that the Fed will do over the next couple of meetings, it does support the idea that maybe they won't have to be as aggressive with tightening policy later on in the year, and that's why we saw the dollar drop somewhat following the initial reaction,” said Moya.

The euro declined Tuesday as markets shifted their attention to the ECB policy meeting due later this week, with money markets pricing in about 70 basis points of interest rate tightening by December.

“The big focus for the ECB this week is whether or not the timeline to remove accommodative policy settings has shrunk, given the fact that the chorus of voices on the governing council have become more hawkish,” said Rai.

Investors will likely look for any indication that the ECB will wind down its asset purchase program, which could tee up a rate hike in September, Rai said.

Still, any rebounds in the euro will likely be limited due to the Russian war against Ukraine, said Moya. In addition to pushing up gasoline prices, the war, now in its second month, has led to a global surge in food prices as Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of commodities including wheat and sunflower oil.

“There's just this overall belief that until you have a resolution with the war in Ukraine, their economic outlook is really going to be a big question mark, and that's not necessarily going to be good for flows for the euro,” said Moya.

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Currency bid prices at 3:58PM (1958 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 100.2900 100.0400 +0.26% 4.837% +100.3300 +99.7340

Euro/Dollar $1.0829 $1.0884 -0.50% -4.74% +$1.0905 +$1.0821

Dollar/Yen 125.3400 125.3800 -0.03% +8.88% +125.7500 +124.7600

Euro/Yen 135.72 136.43 -0.52% +4.14% +136.6400 +135.5500

Dollar/Swiss 0.9324 0.9312 +0.13% +2.22% +0.9344 +0.9288

Sterling/Dollar $1.3000 $1.3029 -0.20% -3.86% +$1.3054 +$1.2994

Dollar/Canadian 1.2642 1.2634 +0.08% +0.00% +1.2661 +1.2583

Aussie/Dollar $0.7455 $0.7420 +0.48% +2.56% +$0.7493 +$0.7400

Euro/Swiss 1.0096 1.0134 -0.37% -2.63% +1.0155 +1.0090

Euro/Sterling 0.8328 0.8352 -0.29% -0.86% +0.8360 +0.8320

NZ $0.6855 $0.6825 +0.45% +0.17% +$0.6889 +$0.6808

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 8.7700 8.8095 -0.31% -0.31% +8.8340 +8.7370

Euro/Norway 9.5026 9.5958 -0.97% -5.10% +9.6023 +9.4864

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An employee of a bank counts US dollar notes at a branch in Hanoi, Vietnam May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

Dollar/Sweden 9.5195 9.4996 -0.27% +5.56% +9.5389 +9.4513

Euro/Sweden 10.3091 10.3375 -0.27% +0.73% +10.3562 +10.2890

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