SINGAPORE : The dollar was rooted near a two-week low on Thursday following minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that showed policymakers taking a cautious stance and as investors awaited key inflation data.
The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against six rivals, was at 105.67, not far from 105.55, its lowest since Sept. 25 it touched on Wednesday. The index is down 0.4 per cent for the week.
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,” according to the minutes released on Wednesday from the Sept. 19-20 meeting.
In recent comments, Fed officials have cited rising bond yields as a factor that may allow them to call it a day on their rate hike cycle.
Also keeping the mood cautious was a mixed report on U.S. producer prices, which increased more than expected in September amid higher costs for energy products and food. But underlying inflation pressures at the factory gate continued to abate.
“This (PPI data) is a reminder that the last mile of the fight against inflation is going to be a tough one,” said Ryan Brandham, head of global capital markets, North America at Validus Risk Management.
The report comes ahead of the release on Thursday of September’s consumer price index data, which is expected to show inflation moderated last month.
A downside surprise to inflation will likely support the case for the Fed to have finished its tightening cycle, thereby pulling down U.S. yields and the dollar, according to Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
“On the flip side, an upside surprise will likely encourage markets to reprice higher the chance the Federal Open Market Committee will follow through on its projected 25 basis point hike.”
Futures markets are pricing in a 26 per cent chance of a 25 basis point hike in the December meeting and a 9 per cent chance of a 25 basis point hike in November meeting, according to the CME FedWatch tool.
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 hikes. Bond yields move opposite to their price. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was down 3.5 basis points to 4.562 per cent.
The euro was up 0.03 per cent at $1.062, after touching an over two week high on Wednesday.
Two influential European Central Bank policymakers said on Wednesday the central bank has made progress in getting inflation back down to target, but new shocks could still require the bank to continue a now-paused tightening cycle.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03 per cent to 149.11 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2311, flat on the day.
The Australian dollar rose 0.05 per cent to $0.642, while the kiwi fell 0.03 per cent to $0.602.
Currency bid prices at 0041 GMT
Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid
Euro/Dollar $1.0621 $1.0620 +0.02 per cent -0.87 per cent +1.0628 +1.0619
Dollar/Yen 149.0950 149.2600 -0.11 per cent +13.61 per cent +149.1500 +149.0100
Euro/Yen 158.36 158.39 -0.02 per cent +12.87 per cent +158.4900 +158.2300
Dollar/Swiss 0.9011 0.9020 +0.00 per cent -2.45 per cent +0.9018 +0.0000
Sterling/Dollar 1.2310 1.2314 +0.01 per cent +1.83 per cent +1.2319 +1.2312
Dollar/Canadian 1.3591 1.3593 -0.01 per cent +0.31 per cent +1.3597 +1.3588
Aussie/Dollar 0.6416 0.6414 +0.03 per cent -5.88 per cent +0.6421 +0.6410
NZ 0.6016 0.6020 -0.07 per cent -5.27 per cent +0.6021 +0.6015
Tokyo Forex market info from BOJ
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