The USD/CHF pair drifts lower for the second straight day on Thursday and slips below the 0.8500 psychological mark during the Asian session. Spot prices, however, remain confined in a familiar trading band held over the past two weeks or so as traders keenly await the release of the latest US consumer inflation figures before placing fresh directional bets.
Heading into the key US data risks, the US Dollar (USD) remains depressed in a one-week-old range amid the uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's (Fed) rate-cut path and is seen exerting some pressure on the USD/CHF pair. That said, the incoming US macro data underscored the fundamental resilience of the American economy. This, along with mixed signals from several Fed officials, forced investors to scale back expectations for a more aggressive policy easing in 2024.
In fact, New York Fed President John Williams said on Wednesday that the US central bank is in a ‘good place’ and has time to think about what’s next for rates, though would eventually need to get policy back to more neutral levels. In contrast, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic earlier this week noted that the central bank still needs to give tight policy time to work on cooling off inflation, which has declined more than expected, and sees two 25 bps cuts by the year-end.
Nevertheless, diminishing odds for an imminent Fed rate cut in March allow the yield on the benchmark 10-year US government bond to hold steady above the 4.0% threshold and support prospects for the emergence of some USD dip-buying. Apart from this, a generally positive tone around the equity markets is likely to undermine the safe-haven Swiss Franc (CHF) and help limit deeper losses for the USD/CHF pair, warranting caution for aggressive bearish traders.
Investors might also prefer to wait for the release of the latest US consumer inflation figures, due later during the early North American session, which will influence the Fed's future rate decisions. This, in turn, will play a key role in driving the USD demand and determining the next leg of a directional move for the USD/CHF pair.