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    US Dollar clings to recent gains as investors look for fresh triggers

    Source Fxstreet
    Mar 27, 2024 11:15
    • The US Dollar snaps this week’s decline and jumps back up on Wednesday. 
    • Traders are sitting on their hands ahead of GDP and PCE inflation data later this week.
    • The US Dollar Index locks in above 104.00 and is expected to defend this level ahead of the pivotal data.

    The US Dollar (USD) broadly consolidates on Wednesday, holding to recent gains and ending the losing streak for this week so far. Markets are not really seeing a main driver for the turnaround, so this move should be taken with a pinch of salt. This could result in the Greenback trading in a tight range until the release of important economic data later this week, namely the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Thursday and the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, on Friday.

    A very light US calendar is ahead on Wednesday, with only the Mortgage Bankers Association delivering its weekly Mortgage Applications for this week. Markets will be able to hear from a Fed official as Fed Board Member Christopher Waller will deliver a speech about the US Economic Outlook at the Economic Club of New York. Known for being a hawk, any change in the number of interest-rate cuts or timing could be important for the Greenback’s valuation.  

    Daily digest market movers: Hawk Waller main event

    • The Mortgage Bankers Association has released the weekly Mortgage Applications Index for this week at 11:00 GMT. The previous number showed a 1.6% contraction compared with a week earlier, and this week was no different with a contraction by 0.7%.
    • The US Treasury is issuing another bond, this time in the 7-year tenor at 17:00 GMT. 
    • Fed Board Member Christopher Waller will speak about the US Economic Outlook at the Economic Club of New York around 22:00 GMT.
    • Equities are overall in the green, except for China, where both the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index and the Shenzhen Index have retreated over 1%. European and US equities are in the green by 0.25% on average. 
    • According to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, expectations for the Fed’s May 1 meeting are at 88.3% for keeping the fed funds rate unchanged, while chances of a rate cut are at 11.7%.
    • The benchmark 10-year US Treasury Note trades around 4.23%, a touch softer from Tuesday’s high at 4.27%.

    US Dollar Index Technical Analysis: trenches at 104.00

    The US Dollar Index (DXY) is entrenching itself (or at least the Dollar bulls are) above 104.00. Shovels and pitchforks are used by traders to make sure that the Greenback does not retreat below 104.00, with the idea that both US GDP and PCE data will beat expectations, favoring a stronger US Dollar. It appears some conviction is creeping in the markets that the US economy will keep soaring, together with a return of inflation. This, in turn, means that the Fed wouldn’t need to cut interest rates three times this year as the economy would be on a path for a soft landing. 

    That first pivotal level for the DXY is near 104.60, where last week’s rally peaked.  Further up, 104.96 remains the level to beat in order to tackle 105.00. Once above there, 105.12 is the last resistance point for now before the Relative Strength Index (RSI) will trade in overbought levels. 

    Support from the 200-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) at 103.74, the 100-day SMA at 103.48, and the 55-day SMA at 103.64 are unable to show their importance as support because traders didn’t wait for a drop to those levels for a turnaround. The 103.00 big figure looks to remain unchallenged for longer, after the decline in the wake of the Fed meeting last week got turned around way before reaching it. 


    US Dollar FAQs

    The US Dollar (USD) is the official currency of the United States of America, and the ‘de facto’ currency of a significant number of other countries where it is found in circulation alongside local notes. It is the most heavily traded currency in the world, accounting for over 88% of all global foreign exchange turnover, or an average of $6.6 trillion in transactions per day, according to data from 2022. Following the second world war, the USD took over from the British Pound as the world’s reserve currency. For most of its history, the US Dollar was backed by Gold, until the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971 when the Gold Standard went away.

    The most important single factor impacting on the value of the US Dollar is monetary policy, which is shaped by the Federal Reserve (Fed). The Fed has two mandates: to achieve price stability (control inflation) and foster full employment. Its primary tool to achieve these two goals is by adjusting interest rates. When prices are rising too quickly and inflation is above the Fed’s 2% target, the Fed will raise rates, which helps the USD value. When inflation falls below 2% or the Unemployment Rate is too high, the Fed may lower interest rates, which weighs on the Greenback.

    In extreme situations, the Federal Reserve can also print more Dollars and enact quantitative easing (QE). QE is the process by which the Fed substantially increases the flow of credit in a stuck financial system. It is a non-standard policy measure used when credit has dried up because banks will not lend to each other (out of the fear of counterparty default). It is a last resort when simply lowering interest rates is unlikely to achieve the necessary result. It was the Fed’s weapon of choice to combat the credit crunch that occurred during the Great Financial Crisis in 2008. It involves the Fed printing more Dollars and using them to buy US government bonds predominantly from financial institutions. QE usually leads to a weaker US Dollar.

    Quantitative tightening (QT) is the reverse process whereby the Federal Reserve stops buying bonds from financial institutions and does not reinvest the principal from the bonds it holds maturing in new purchases. It is usually positive for the US Dollar.


    Disclaimer: For information purposes only. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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