The US dollar drew a strong boost from news that the Senate has voted to open the debate on healthcare reform. VP Mike Pence broke the tie and opened the floor for amendments on the current bill, reviving hope that the Trump administration could make progress in its fiscal agenda. Economic data also came in strong ahead of today’s FOMC decision, which might shed more light on the Fed’s balance sheet runoff timing and the odds of another rate hike in September or December.
The euro held steady against most of its counterparts as data came in mixed. The German Ifo business climate index rose from 115.2 to 116.0 to reflect improving conditions versus the projected dip to 114.9. However, German import prices chalked up a steeper than expected 1.1% slide instead of the estimated 0.7% dip to signal weaker price pressures. There are no major reports due from the euro zone today.
The pound enjoyed a bit of a boost ahead of BOE member Haldane’s speech as many expected him to shift to a less dovish stance. UK CBI industrial order expectations fell from 16 to 10 versus the projected reading at 12. The UK preliminary GDP reading is due next and a slightly stronger than expected growth figure of 0.3% is eyed versus the earlier 0.2% uptick.
The franc had a mixed performance as it reacted mostly to currency-specific factors on the lack of top-tier data from Switzerland. Today has the UBS consumption indicator and the Credit Suisse Economic Expectations index on tap, and improvements could shore up the franc while weak figures could lead to declines.
The yen gave up ground to most of its peers, owing to the strength in the US dollar. Traders continue to price in positive expectations for the FOMC statement, which is driving bond yields higher and leading to weaker demand for the lower-yielding yen.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The Loonie scored another round of gains after the API report revealed a much larger than expected draw in stockpiles, easing oversupply concerns and lifting expectations for the EIA report. This is expected to report a draw of 3.3 million barrels in stockpiles. New Zealand reported a larger than expected trade surplus of 242M NZD versus the projected 147M NZD figure and the earlier 74M NZD surplus. Australia’s headline CPI missed the mark with a 0.2% uptick versus the expected 0.4% increase but the core reading came in line with consensus at 0.5%.