US Dollar sees mild gains following jobless claims, less hawkish Powell

Source Fxstreet
May 2, 2024 16:04
  • Fed Chair Powell signals inflation still remains high despite significant easing, suggesting an uncertain path forward.
  • Powell acknowledges that strict monetary policy has balanced both inflation and an overheated economy, leveling dual goal risks.
  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims came in steady.

The US Dollar Index (DXY) is trading mildly higher at 105.80. The Greenback's modest upward momentum comes despite Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell's cautious remarks on inflation and its uncertain future trajectory. Ahead of Nonfarm Payrolls on Friday, weekly Jobless Claims figures seem to be benefiting the USD.

The US economy has seen substantial progress, according to the Fed, yet inflation remains worryingly high and its path uncertain. Although the Fed's restrictive measures have limited inflation and overheating, progress on inflation has slowed. Nonfarm Payrolls figures on Friday will provide additional guidance for markets on the state of the economy.

Daily digest market movers: DXY backed by stable job market and lowering rate cut odds

  • Weekly Initial Jobless Claims came in at 208K, while no changes were reported in Continuing Claims, which continued to hold at 1.774 million, similar to the previous week.
  • Fed rate cut expectations have slightly shifted, with July odds increasing to 33% and the September and November odds up to 70% and 95%.
  • US Treasury bond yields are mixed. The 2-year yield is moving lower at 4.93%, while the 5-year and 10-year yields are slightly lower at 4.64% and 4.63%, respectively. 
  • For Friday, markets expect a deceleration in April’s Nonfarm Payrolls, while the Average Hourly Earnings are forecasted to see a slight acceleration. The Unemployment Rate is seen coming in unchanged at 3.8%.

DXY technical analysis: DXY bulls continue to struggle, outlook still positive

The DXY's technical outlook reflects a buying momentum, primarily driven by its position in relation to its Simple Moving Averages (SMAs). Even though the pair has a short-term negative outlook from the bearish tug of war with the bulls, it continues to trade above the 20,100 and 200-day Simple Moving Averages, which suggests a growing strength among the bulls.

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) shown by the rising red bars suggests that the bears are advancing. At the same time, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is in a flat position within positive territory. This indicates that the buying force is weakening while bears push downwards.

 

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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