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Safe haven status helps dollar edge higher; Fed meeting in focus

Published 03/20/2023, 04:12 AM
Updated 03/20/2023, 04:30 AM
© Reuters.
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By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar edged higher in early European trade Monday with the safe haven in demand amid the ongoing banking crisis and ahead of this week's Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting.

At 04:10 ET (08:10 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.1% higher at 103.470.

The dollar retreated overnight after a group of major central banks announced emergency liquidity measures in order to ensure the stability of the financial system.

This followed the emergency rescue of Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) with the Swiss authorities organizing the takeover of the banking giant by rival UBS (SIX:UBSG).

However, tensions in the banking sector remain, particularly in the debt market, given that UBS will write off about $17 billion worth of Credit Suisse bonds as part of the takeover.

Traders are also cautious ahead of this week's Federal Reserve meeting.

Expectations are now running high that the U.S. central bank will lift interest rates by only 25 basis points given the turmoil in the banking sector, a smaller hike than seemed likely earlier this month.

However, there remains a great deal of uncertainty over what signals the Fed will send to markets, given inflation remains elevated.

EUR/USD fell 0.1% to 1.0659, ahead of a speech by ECB President Christine Lagarde later in the session as she appears before the European Parliament's economic committee.

The European Central Bank increased interest rates by 50 basis points last week, with Governing Council member François Villeroy de Galhau saying Monday that the decision shows the institution is confident in the region's banks.

GBP/USD rose 0.2% to 1.2193, with the Bank of England expected to hike interest rates later this week. However, the central bank will have to strike a difficult balance between the fight against inflation and worries about financial turmoil.

AUD/USD traded flat at 0.6694, NZD/USD edged lower to 0.6257, while USD/JPY fell 0.5% to 131.12, with the yen also benefiting from its safe haven status.

Minutes from the Bank of Japan's March meeting showed that many board members were in favor of maintaining the central bank's extra accommodative stance, but some members voiced concern over lingering distortions in the yield curve that its policy has caused.

USD/CNY edged higher to 6.8891 after the People's Bank of China unexpectedly cut reserve requirement ratios for local lenders, loosening liquidity conditions.

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