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Dollar gains after US consumer prices rise more than expected

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Dollar gains after US consumer prices rise more than expected
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The employee of a currency exchange shop counts U.S. dollar banknotes in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico July 27, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The dollar rose sharply on Thursday after U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in September, lifted by an elevated cost of rent that raised the prospect of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates high for some time.

The Labor Department’s report on Thursday showed the annual increase in consumer prices last month, excluding the volatile food and energy components, was the smallest in two years, but the surprise surge in rental costs rippled across markets.

While many shrugged off the move higher in rental costs, others concluded the Fed’s mission to lower inflation to it’s 2% target isn’t quite there.

“It just drives home the recent narrative that interest rates are likely to stay fairly high for a long period of time until the Fed can really break the back of inflation,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets in Oakville, Canada.

“Getting inflation back to 2% is not going to be easy.”

The consumer price index increased 0.4% last month, with a 0.6% jump in the cost of shelter accounting for more than half of the rise.

The , a measure of the U.S. currency against six others, jumped 0.85% to 106.550 in its biggest single-day gain since March 15. The dollar rose more than 1% against sterling, and the Australian and New Zealand dollars.

While a close call, the Fed is on course to hike rates one more time, most likely in December, said Bipan Rai, North America head of FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

The euro declined 0.85% to $1.0527, while the yen slid closer to breaching the 150 mark, seen as a level Japanese officials may intervene to halt the currency from weakening further. It was last down 0.43% at 149.81 per dollar.

Owners’ equivalent rent, a measure of the amount homeowners would pay to rent or would earn from renting their property, rose even though non-official sources show a decline in rental prices.

“Since the Fed makes its decisions based on the official numbers, not on what third party sources are showing, it’s a little bit worrisome,” said Thierry Wizman, Macquarie’s global FX and interest rates strategist in New York.

“Even though September was a blip, I don’t think that it negates the overall picture of the declining inflation. I don’t think that this is going to cause (the Fed) to hike,” Wizman said. “The only thing that the market is missing is that somehow it thinks that the Fed is going to drop high for long.”

The dollar’s recent weakness has been driven by declining Treasury yields as bond prices rallied on the Fed’s softer stance on future rate rises. Bond yields move opposite to their price. The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose 10.6 basis points (bps) to 4.7032%. The benchmark note hit its highest since 2007 last week at 4.887% but dropped sharply this week.

Also in the mix for currency investors on Thursday were sluggish British growth figures, which showed the economy partially recovered in August after a sharp drop in July. The pound initially did not significantly react but later fell 1.15% to $1.2174. The pound was the best performing G10 currency in the first half of this year, thanks to better-than-expected economic data and sticky inflation that drove expectations the Bank of England (BoE) would be increasing rates for longer than most peers. It then had its worst month in a year in September, as those factors reversed, before steadying this month. Thursday’s CPI release came after Wednesday’s mixed report on U.S. producer prices, and minutes from the Fed’s September meeting. Fed officials pointed to uncertainties around the economy, oil prices and financial markets as supporting “the case for proceeding carefully in determining the extent of additional policy firming that may be appropriate,” the minutes showed. The Swiss franc had been set to strengthen for the seventh successive session, the longest streak since July 2020. But the franc retreated, with the dollar up 0.72% at 0.9085.

Forex

Dollar slips ahead of GDP data; euro rises and yen surges

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Investing.com – The U.S. dollar slipped lower Thursday, the euro posted small gains while the Japanese yen climbed to multi-month highs ahead of next week’s Bank of Japan meeting.  

At 05:25 ET (09:25 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, fell 0.2% to 103.950, extending an overnight decline.

Dollar slips ahead of GDP data

The dollar retreated Thursday, extending an overnight decline amid increasing confidence that the will cut interest rates in September.

data for the second quarter are due later in the session, and is expected to show annualized growth of 2.0%.

This would be above the 1.4% growth seen in the first quarter, but would remain considerably slower than the 4.2% pace seen in the second half of last year.

The release will also show inflation slowed considerably last quarter, with the GDP price index falling to 2.6% from 3.1%, ahead of Friday’s price index data, the Federal Reserve’s favored gauge of inflation.

The Fed is set to meet next week, and is widely to keep interest rates steady while signaling a rate cut in September. 

German business morale falls again

In Europe, rose 0.1% to 1.0847, with the euro edging higher despite German business morale unexpectedly falling in July, the third consecutive decline in Germany’s most prominent leading indicator..

The Ifo institute said its sank to 87.0 in July from 88.6 in June.

“The German economy is stuck in the crisis,” said Ifo president Clemens Fuest.

The kept interest rates on hold at 3.75% last week, but markets are pricing in just short of two more ECB rate cuts for the rest of this year.

traded 0.2% lower at 1.2885, falling back from the 1.30 level ahead of next week’s Bank of England policy-setting meeting.

UBS expects the central bank to trim interest rates in what is widely seen as a close call as to when it will start what is likely to be a slow and steady reduction path.

Yen goes from strength to strength 

In Asia, fell 0.7% to 152.72, with the pair falling to its weakest level in 2-1/2 months as traders abandoned short yen bets in the run up to the BOJ’s July meeting in the wake of suspected currency market intervention by the Japanese government.

The is expected to consider a 10 basis point hike, and could unveil a plan to roughly halve bond purchases in coming years.

“USD/JPY has now corrected 6% off its high. This has proved another successful intervention campaign for Japanese authorities,” said analysts at ING, in a note. 

“We think the success of the intervention has had less to do with the size of the FX sales and more to do with the timing. As was the case in September/October 2022, Japanese FX intervention has been timed to coincide with a dovish reappraisal of Fed policy. Very clever.”

slipped 0.5% lower to 7.2281, but remained near an eight-month high amid persistent concerns over a slowing economic recovery in the country. Surprise rate cuts by the People’s Bank added to pressure on the currency and did little to lift spirits over the Chinese economy.

 

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Investors turn long on Singapore dollar after 7 months; bearish bets on Asian FX ease – Reuters poll

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By Roushni Nair

(Reuters) –

Investors turned bullish on the Singapore dollar for the first time since mid-December as the city-state’s growth and inflation dynamics continue to support the local unit, while bearish bets on most Asian currencies eased, a Reuters poll found on Thursday.

Long positions on the Singapore dollar were at their highest since early April 2023, while bearish bets on the Malaysian ringgit fell to levels seen in April last year, according to a fortnightly poll of 10 analysts.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) does not seem to be in a hurry to ease policy settings after a core inflation reading of above 3% in May with growth in the second quarter coming in strong at 2.9%, according to analysts.

MAS will conclude its policy meeting on Friday, with analysts expecting the central bank to maintain its hawkish stance and hold on to its current policy settings even as inflation in June was at a two-year low.

“The strong data (growth and inflation) and the continued appreciation of the SNEER (Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate) make us continue to like the SGD on a relative-value basis and against low-yielders in the region,” analysts at Bank of America said in a note.

However, any spike in oil prices due to geopolitical events would exert upside pressure on Singapore dollar’s safe-haven status, they added.

Singapore is among the few countries in the world with a triple-A sovereign credit rating that is reflective of exceptionally strong fiscal and external balance sheets, factors that firm its position as a safe harbor for investors.

Meanwhile, markets have priced in a 100% chance of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve as early as September, with investors awaiting a slew of macroeconomic data, including second-quarter growth figures, to further validate their bets. [FEDWATCH]

Declining interest rates in the U.S. would take the shine off the dollar as it could lead to lower foreign investments while triggering a risk-on sentiment for emerging Asian currencies.

This has resulted in short bets on the Philippine peso and Thailand’s baht also easing significantly.

Bearish positions on the Chinese yuan and the Taiwanese dollar were at their highest since June 27.

Markets in Taiwan extended losses, pressured by statements from Washington last week that hinted at the possibility of tougher curbs for exports of advanced semiconductor technology to China.

Taiwan markets were closed for a second successive day because of bad weather.

The Asian currency positioning poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3. A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars.

The figures include positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

The survey findings are provided below (positions in U.S. dollar versus each currency):

DATE USD/SG USD/ID USD/IN USD/TH

D R R B

25-Jul-24 1.07 0.79 -0.33 0.35 0.86 0.12 0.39 0.43 0.02

11-Jul-24 1.05 0.87 0.06 0.73 0.68 0.22 1.03 0.86 0.51

27-Jun-24 1.34 1.28 0.80 1.49 0.88 0.46 1.00 1.37 0.91

13-Jun-24 0.95 0.87 0.62 1.22 0.64 0.37 1.00 1.23 0.92

30-May-24 1.05 0.72 0.33 0.94 0.53 0.00 0.81 1.19 1.00

16-May-24 1.05 0.96 0.35 0.96 1.02 0.39 1.23 1.29 1.00

2-May-24 1.25 1.61 0.89 1.39 1.40 0.49 1.46 1.44 1.39

18-Apr-24 1.25 1.59 0.80 1.32 1.24 0.43 1.42 1.19 1.28

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Singapore dollar note is seen in this illustration photo May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File photo

4-Apr-24 1.18 1.09 0.42 1.13 1.17 0.00 1.15 0.62 1.35

21-Mar-24 0.92 0.82 0.33 0.60 0.92 -0.54 1.12 0.47 1.13

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Forex

US dollar pares losses after economic data

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar trimmed losses on Thursday after data showed the the world’s largest economy expanded faster than expected and inflation slowed in the second quarter.

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

The greenback came off lows against the surging yen and was last down 0.4% at 153.16. It was at 152.68 yen before the data. The was slightly down at 104.32 after the data. It was at 104.21 just before.

Advance estimates showed that gross domestic product grew at a 2.8% annualized rate last quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast GDP rising at a 2.0% rate.

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