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    US Dollar trades sideways after Friday’s rollercoaster ride

    Source Fxstreet
    January 8, 2024 12:30
    • The US Dollar trades flat after a whipsaw move on Friday. 
    • Traders will focus on US inflation numbers later this week. 
    • The US Dollar Index steadies around 102.00, though technical rejection on Friday points to more downturn ahead.

    The US Dollar (USD) trades broadly steady on Monday after suffering a wild ride on Friday, likely hurting intraday and short-term traders. The US Dollar Index (DXY) jumped significantly higher after a strong headline number in the US Jobs report, only to fully unwind that move and sink lower on the back of very poor Employment numbers in the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services PMI report. Adding to the swings caused by economic data releases, traders need to revalue the US Dollar taking into account increasing geopolitical tensions and mounting expectations of interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve (Fed). 

    On the economic front, a calm Monday is ahead with only Consumer Credit data for November due. The focus on credit numbers, loans and defaults is likely to grow in the coming months as several banks signal they are seeing more payment delinquencies. For this week, the main event will be the US inflation numbers on Thursday. 

    Daily digest Market Movers: Firing at all cylinders    

    • German Factory Orders are nudging up a touch in November, heading from -3.7% to 0.3% against October. Estimate was for a jump of 1.1%. This made the US Dollar jump against the Euro to the session’s high (EUR/USD session’s low).
    • Tensions are building up further in the Middle East after Israel claims it discovered Chinese weaponry in a Hamas depot. 
    • China's biggest construction firm Evergrande sinks 17% in Hong Kong after reports that its Vice Chairman has been detained.
    • Tit-for-tat between China and the US, with China sanctioning five US defence industry companies after a US arms sale to Taiwan. 
    • Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan said that the Fed should begin discussing a slowdown in its balance sheet runoff. 
    • The US Treasury is taking a stab at the markets by placing a 3-month and a 6-month bill at 15:30 GMT. 
    • US Consumer Credit Change for November is due to come out at 20:00 GMT, with credit expected to jump from $5.13 billion to $9 billion. 
    • Equity markets are in the red across the board at the start of this week. Dow Jones futures are leading the decline, down near 0.50%.
    • The CME Group’s FedWatch Tool shows that markets are pricing in a 95.3% chance that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged at its January 31 meeting. Around 4.7% expect the first cut already to take place. 
    • The benchmark 10-year US Treasury Note trades has reclaimed back the area above 4% after the wild ride on Friday. 

    US Dollar Index Technical Analysis: Geopolitics counterweights rate cuts

    Bets on the US Dollar look split. On the one hand, traders place bets favoring the US Dollar due to increasing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, with ongoing headlines over the Red Sea and Chinese weaponry found in Hamas storages by Israel. On the other side, traders see reasons for quick rate cuts by the Fed after the implosion of the ISM numbers last Friday. Expect geopolitics to take over control for now, as long as new headlines point to further heightened tensions. 

    In the DXY US Dollar Index, the first level on the upside is 103.00, which falls nearly in line with the descending trend line from the top of October 3 and December 8. Once broken and closed above there, the 200-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) at 103.43 comes into play. The 104.00 level might be a bit too far off, with 103.93 (55-day SMA) coming in as the next resistance on the upside.   

    To the downside, the rejection on the descending trendline is giving fuel to the Greenback bears for further downturn. The line in the sand here is 101.74, the floor which held halfway through December before breaking down in the last two weeks. In case the DXY snaps this level, expect to see a test at the low near 100.80.

    US Dollar FAQs

    What is the US Dollar?

    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.

    How do the decisions of the Federal Reserve impact the US Dollar?

    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.

    What is Quantitative Easing and how does it influence the US Dollar?

    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.

    What is Quantitative Tightening and how does it influence the 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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