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Dollar bounces off lows after Fed minutes; Sterling looks to Autumn Statement

Published 11/22/2023, 04:11 AM
© Reuters.
- - The U.S. dollar edged higher in early European trade Wednesday, but remained near recent lows after the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting.

At 04:10 ET (09:10 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, rose 0.2% to 103.689, just above the 2-1/2-month low of 103.17 seen on Tuesday. 

The index is down about 3% so far in November and on course for its worst monthly performance in a year.

Fed minutes fail to significantly change sentiment

Tuesday’s Fed minutes showed the central bank would proceed "carefully" and that "all participants judged it appropriate to maintain" the current rate setting, casting doubt over when the central bank will begin trimming interest rates.

That said, the Fed officials also indicated they would only raise interest rates if progress in controlling inflation faltered, suggesting more tightening is unlikely anytime soon.

“Federal Reserve minutes once again reiterated the cautious approach to interest rates, which did not excite the markets much,” said analysts at ING, in a note.

Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday means that the weekly jobless claims data are brought forward a day, and joins durable goods data for October and the latest readings of consumer confidence on the economic data slate later Wednesday.

“We tend to think it is a little too early to expect the dollar bear trend to run a lot further just yet. That will require some substantially weaker US data or the Fed formally taking an additional rate hike off the table,” ING added.  

Euro, sterling fall from recent highs

In Europe, EUR/USD fell 0.2% to 1.0886, with the euro handing back some of its recent gains after rising to its highest against the dollar since mid-August.

A sharp fall in eurozone inflation has given rise to speculation that rate cuts are just around the corner, but European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde was keen to express caution, in a speech on Tuesday.

"This is not the time to start declaring victory," Lagarde said in a speech in Berlin. "We need to remain focused on bringing inflation back to our target, and not rush to premature conclusions based on short-term developments."

GBP/USD fell 0.2% to 1.2511, not far from a two-month high of 1.2558 touched overnight.

U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to release the annual Autumn Statement later in the session, and press reports have suggested he will announce tax cuts intended to bolster the country’s weak growth outlook after the U.K. economy flatlined in the third quarter.

USD/SEK rose 0.3% to 10.4998 ahead of the latest policy-setting meeting by Sweden's central bank.

The market remains undecided over whether the Riksbank will hike, but a steady decision would likely be taken as the end of the hiking cycle and put the Swedish crown under pressure.

Asian currencies retreat 

In Asia, USD/CNY rose 0.2% to 7.1496, with the yuan handing back some of its recent gains on the back of a series of stronger-than-expected midpoint fixes from the People’s Bank of China, as well as reports that Beijing was planning to roll out more stimulus measures. 

USD/JPY traded 0.6% higher at 149.25, with the yen retreating after hitting its strongest level in three months versus the dollar, with the outlook still clouded by uncertainty over a dovish Bank of Japan, which has so far signaled few changes to its ultra-loose stance.


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