Home Top News Dollar steadies as traders await Fed minutes for rate clues

Dollar steadies as traders await Fed minutes for rate clues


Dollar tracks global yields lower as Fed minutes awaited By Reuters

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Published Feb 20, 2024 08:26PM ET
Updated Feb 21, 2024 01:30AM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Rae Wee

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -The dollar fell broadly on Wednesday as it tracked a global decline in bond yields, while traders awaited minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting due later in the day for further clues on the central bank’s rate outlook.

The greenback slipped below 150 yen in Asia trade and last bought 149.97 yen, giving the Japanese currency some breathing space having been pinned near a three-month low in previous sessions.

In the past, traders have viewed 150 as a line in the sand that could trigger currency intervention from Japanese authorities, such as was the case in late 2022.

The move lower in the dollar has come on the back of a dip in U.S. Treasury yields in line with its global peers. [US/]

That followed lower-than-expected Canadian inflation data and euro zone wage growth — all of which sent domestic yields falling as it ramped up expectations for rate cuts by global central banks this year.

The Canadian dollar was last marginally higher at 1.35085 per U.S. dollar, while the euro rose 0.06% to $1.0814.

The U.S. dollar index fell 0.05% to 103.99.

“Interestingly, the order and extent of policy moves that are implied by market rates seem to have only the vaguest of correlations with the levels of economic activity in each of the G10 economies,” said Jane Foley, senior FX strategist at Rabobank.

“It is clear that the process of calibrating the timing and pace of central bank policy moves this year still has some way to go.”

Still, the Federal Reserve remains the king of central banks, and minutes of its latest policy meeting due later on Wednesday will provide further clarity on the outlook for U.S. rates.

“The overarching FOMC minutes takeaway must be that it is not (yet) time to initiate a rate cut,” said Vishnu Varathan, chief economist for Asia ex-Japan at Mizuho Bank.

“At best, it will be inconclusive with data dependence caveats gaining prominence. At worst, irrelevant, given ex-post hot inflation and strong jobs data.

“Either way, it will limit how far pivot bets can run.”

Traders are currently pricing in just above 90 basis points (bps) worth of easing by the Fed this year.

Elsewhere, sterling gained 0.11% to $1.2634, though was some distance away from Tuesday’s one-week high of $1.2668, having retreated from that level in the wake of dovish comments from Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.

Bailey said on Tuesday he was comfortable with investors betting on interest rate cuts this year, but pointed to signs that Britain’s economy was picking up after falling into recession in late 2023.

His remarks sent sterling to its lowest level against the euro in around a month and UK gilt yields falling.

“Bailey sounded more dovish than he had been previously and that weighed on sterling a little. We’re still comfortable with our forecast for an August start to the Bank of England’s easing cycle,” said Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY).

Down Under, the Australian dollar rose 0.27% to $0.6567, while the New Zealand dollar gained 0.4% to $0.61905.

Australian data on wages for the December quarter out on Wednesday did little to change the outlook for domestic rates, with a rise of 0.9% exactly matching market forecasts.

The Chinese yuan rebounded to a near three-week high, helped by a broadly weaker greenback and some bounceback in its battered equity markets. It last stood at 7.1863 per dollar.

Its offshore counterpart rose roughly 0.2% to 7.1886 per dollar.

China on Tuesday announced its biggest ever reduction in its benchmark mortgage rate in an attempt to prop up the country’s struggling property market and broader economy, though the move failed to draw much excitement from investors, as experts said more needs to be done.

Dollar tracks global yields lower as Fed minutes awaited

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