The US dollar edged slightly higher against its peers as traders are pricing in expectations for a Fed rate hike in today’s FOMC statement. Market watchers will also pay close attention to updated growth and inflation forecasts, as well as the tone of Yellen in the presser. These should provide clues on whether or not three rate hikes can be implemented this year. PPI readings came in stronger than expected with 0.3% gains for both headline and core figures.
The euro gave back more of its recent gains as political headlines became the main driver of price action again. Polls are showing a lead for Le Pen while the formal investigation on Fillon could dampen his odds of winning, perhaps even forcing him to quit the race. German ZEW economic sentiment and euro zone industrial production fell short of estimates, and Italian retail sales are due next.
The pound was off to a rough start but eventually recovered against its peers. There were no major reports out of the UK economy yesterday while today has the jobs report on tap. Claimant count could rise by 3.2K, erasing part of the earlier 4.6K drop, while the unemployment rate could stay unchanged at 4.8%. The average earnings index is expected to slide from 2.6% to 2.4%.
The franc advanced to the pound and the euro but gave up ground to the yen and dollar. There were no reports out of the Swiss economy yesterday while today has the PPI lined up. This is expected to show another 0.4% uptick and ease deflation concerns in the area.
The yen had a mixed performance as it reacted mostly to country-specific events. However, it’s worth noting that rising US bond yields in anticipation of Fed rate hikes is dampening demand for Japanese bonds and the yen. Traders are also likely positioning or holding out for the BOJ statement later this week.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The comdolls held their ground even with dollar strength in recent trading as the crude oil market enjoyed a couple of positive updates. One was that the pickup in Saudi’s production was merely taken to domestic refineries instead of being sold in the global market and that the API report showed a 0.5M reduction in stockpiles. The EIA crude oil inventory report is due next, along with the New Zealand GDP which might show a slower 0.7% growth figure.