Dollar holds below one-month high as currency markets wait for Fed


The dollar was steady on Wednesday, with currency markets generally quiet ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, where investors will be looking for any sign of response to the jump in U.S. inflation.

The Fed concludes its policy meeting later in the day and will release new economic projections along with a policy statement at 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT).

The central bank is widely expected to acknowledge the first conversations among its policymakers about when and how fast to pare back the massive bond-buying programme launched in 2020, but most investors think the Fed will refrain from any hints of starting tapering its stimulus in the near future.

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At 07:12 GMT, the dollar was flat on the day against a basket of currencies, at 90.504. On Tuesday, it hit a one-month high of 90.677, despite mixed U.S. economic data.

The euro was little changed against the dollar, at $1.212.

U.S. retail sales dropped more than expected in May but sales in April were revised sharply up and are way above their pre-pandemic level.

Separate data showed that wholesale price inflation accelerated to 6.6%. Consumer price data last week showed the sharpest rise in more than a dozen years.

Market participants will be listening for any change in tone from Fed Chair Jerome Powell about whether the inflation is likely to be temporary or longer-lasting.

“If Powell sounds hawkish after all, the USD reaction is going to be more pronounced,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank.

“Because the market is preparing more for large potential moves it then makes sense that EUR-USD will trade closer to 1.21 than to 1.22 until the FOMC meeting.”

Risk-related currencies were slightly higher, with the New Zealand dollar up 0.3% at $0.7145 and the Australian dollar – which is seen as a proxy for risk appetite – up 0.2% at $0.7701.

The pound was up 0.2% at $1.4109 after British inflation unexpectedly jumped above the Bank of England’s 2% target in May.

In the oil market, Brent hit the highest since April 2019 due to a mix of post-pandemic demand and restricted production.[O/R]

Japan’s exports rose at the fastest pace since 1980 in May and a key gauge of capital spending grew, helping the world’s third largest economy offset sluggish domestic demand as COVID-19 vaccinations boost business activity in key markets.

The dollar was a touch lower versus the yen, with the pair changing hands at 109.91.

The Chinese yuan was little changed versus the dollar, hovering around the key 6.40 level, after China’s industrial output and retail sales data both were below their forecasts.

Elsewhere, bitcoin was at around $40,158, having climbed above $40,000 earlier in the week following tweets from Tesla boss Elon Musk, who said that Tesla may resume transactions using the cryptocurrency.

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