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Forex

Asia FX weak as rate fears keep dollar steady

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Investing.com– Most Asian currencies moved in a flat-to-low range on Monday, and were nursing steep losses from the past week as concerns over higher-for-longer interest rates kept traders largely biased towards the dollar.

Still, easing fears over a bigger conflict in the Middle East offered regional currencies some relief, as risk appetite improved. 

But most regional units still retained a bulk of their losses from over the past week, as traders steadily priced out expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by as soon as June.

Dollar steady, more rate cues awaited this week 

The and both fell slightly in Asian trade on Monday, but remained close to over five-month highs hit earlier in April. 

Waning bets on a June rate cut boosted the dollar, especially after strong U.S. inflation readings and hawkish commentary from top Fed officials. 

Focus this week is on more cues on U.S. monetary policy, specifically from data- which is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge. The reading is due on Friday and is expected to reiterate that U.S. inflation remained sticky in March.

More cues on the U.S. economy are also due this week, with data for April set to offer more insight into business activity.

Chinese yuan steady after PBOC holds loan prime rate 

The Chinese yuan’s pair moved little on Monday after the People’s Bank of China kept its benchmark on hold, as expected. 

The LPR was kept at record lows, as the PBOC moved to keep monetary policy as loose as possible to buoy economic growth. The central bank is also expected to further trim the rate this year, after a cut to the in February. 

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But low interest rates are also expected to keep the yuan under pressure. The USDCNY pair was close to a five-month high, above the psychologically important 7.2 level. 

Japanese yen flat, BOJ meeting awaited 

The Japanese yen’s pair moved little on Monday, but remained well above the 154 level amid little relief from the dollar.

This kept investors on guard over any potential government intervention, especially as the USDJPY pair tested 34-year highs at 155. 

Focus this week is on a on Friday- the central bank’s first meeting after a historic rate hike in March. Any cues on future rate hikes and policy changes will be closely watched.

Broader Asian currencies moved little as fears of higher-for-longer U.S. rates remained in play. 

The Australian dollar’s pair rose 0.3% after tumbling to a five-month low last week.

The South Korean won’s pair rose 0.5%, while the Singapore dollar’s pair was flat.

The Indian rupee’s pair rose 0.1%, but was trading below record highs hit last week.

Forex

BofA projects EUR-USD to hit 1.12 by year-end, above consensus

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Bank of America (BofA) released its currency market forecast, projecting the EUR-USD exchange rate to reach 1.12 by the end of the year. The bank’s analysts expect the majority of the euro’s appreciation to occur in the second half of the year, positioning their forecast above the consensus estimate of 1.08 for 2024.

In addition to the euro, BofA’s analysis remains focused on the G4 currencies. The pair is currently trading around the bank’s year-end forecast for 2024. However, BofA noted that there are still risks of intervention in the currency pair.

The British pound (GBP) is also on BofA’s radar, with the bank maintaining a constructive outlook on the currency. This optimism is fueled by stronger-than-expected UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. Nevertheless, BofA acknowledges that the upcoming UK general election will likely dominate short-term market attention.

BofA’s broader view on the currency markets includes a forecast for a gradual depreciation of the US dollar across most of the G10 currencies throughout this year and into the next.

The forecast also suggests a slightly greater depreciation for the US dollar against higher-beta G10 currencies.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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UBS shifts stance on Swiss franc, now sees it as neutral

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UBS modified its outlook on the Swiss franc, adjusting the currency’s status from “least preferred” to “neutral.” This reassessment comes amid expectations that the U.S. dollar will maintain its strength, with potential for intermittent increases in value.

However, UBS does not anticipate a sharp rally or significant depreciation of the dollar when the Federal Reserve begins its rate-cutting cycle, which is expected to start in September.

UBS’s forecast suggests that geopolitical uncertainties, particularly those related to the Middle East, are likely to persist. The firm notes that unless there is a surge in oil prices due to actual disruptions in supply, these geopolitical factors should not lead to a substantial increase in market risk aversion.

The firm continues to encourage investment in currency crosses, which involve trading between two currencies, excluding the U.S. dollar. UBS’s adjustment to the Swiss franc’s status indicates a change in the perceived risk and potential return of holding or trading the currency.

The reassessment of the Swiss franc by UBS reflects a broader analysis of the currency’s position in the market. Previously considered as a less favorable option, the Swiss franc’s new “neutral” rating suggests that the risks associated with short positions in the currency may have diminished.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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Dollar steadies after sharp gains post Fed minutes; sterling retains strength

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Investing.com – The U.S. dollar handed back some of the previous session’s gains Thursday, but remained near a one-week high after the release of hawkish minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting suggested U.S. interest rates would remain elevated for some time. 

At 04:20 ET (08:20 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.1% lower at 104.705, after gaining 0.3% overnight.

Dollar boosted by hawkish Fed minutes

The of the Fed’s late-April meeting showed policymakers were growing increasingly concerned over sticky inflation, with some Fed officials talking about potentially raising rates further to bring down inflation.

“While the general view was that policy was ‘well positioned’, many members were open to more hikes if needed. Incidentally, ‘many’ participants questioned whether policy was restrictive enough,” said ING in a note.

Several Fed officials have subsequently cautioned about inflation levels in speeches following the gathering.

But the Fed is still seen as unlikely to raise interest rates further, and so markets are now pricing in a greater chance the central bank will keep rates high for longer. 

Atlanta Fed Chair is set to speak later in the session, and traders will look to his comments as well as data for May for further clues.

Sterling retains firm tone after election news

In Europe, rose 0.1% to 1.2730, with sterling retaining its firm tone after Wednesday’s data showed that U.K. inflation fell by less than expected in April.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a national election, which his Conservative party is widely expected to lose to the opposition Labour Party after 14 years in power.

“The pound also seems to have been only very lightly impacted by the news,” said ING, as “crucially, many of the volatility-inducing events that had been associated with UK politics in previous years (UK-EU trade relationships, unfunded budget spending, the Scottish referendum) all seem to be rather marginal risks now.”

traded 0.2% higher to 1.0839, after data showed that eurozone business activity has expanded at its fastest pace in a year this month.

HCOB’s preliminary climbed to 52.3 this month from April’s 51.7, beating expectations for a more modest lift to 52.0, supported by buoyant demand for services, while the manufacturing sector showed signs of approaching a recovery.

The European Central Bank has largely confirmed it will start its rate-cutting cycle next month, and the current debate is how many more cuts, if any, the policymakers will agree to this year.

Yen flat despite PMI improvement

In Asia, largely flat at 156.76, after surging close to 157 in overnight trade, with data for Japan showing manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in 11 months. 

traded 0.1% higher at 7.2443, trading just below a six-month high.

Beijing was seen banning certain U.S. firms from participating in trade activity relating to China, while also banning some arms shipments to Taiwan. The move was seen as retaliation for steeper U.S. tariffs on key Chinese industries, which will go live from August 1.

China also carried out military drills near Taiwanese territory, ramping up concerns over heightened tensions in the area.

 

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