US Dollar stands steady as market anticipates FOMC minutes

Source Fxstreet
May 20, 2024 16:33
  • DXY Index is neutral, trading at 104.25, setting up for a quiet weekly start.
  • Weaker data drives Fed officials' cautious stance, and financial conditions are improving.
  • Markets continue to bet on an easing cycle starting in September, FOMC minutes on Wednesday will be key.

The US Dollar Index (DXY) begins the week on a quiet note, trading at 104.25, registering negligible changes despite the recent soft performances in data. The Federal Reserve (Fed) still showcases caution regarding premature easing as financial conditions continue to loosen.

The US economy exhibits signs of unyielding stability, despite recent data revealing some underperformance. The Fed, nonetheless, remains vigilant, hesitant to resort to premature easing as the financial conditions persistently ease. Inflation and Retail sales data from April disappointed last week, and markets will set their sight on S&P data later this week to gain more insights into the US economy’s health.

Daily digest market movers: US Dollar holds its ground, markets await drivers

  • Fed officials remain cautious in terms of a timeline for cutting interest rates, incoming data will set the timing of the easing cycle.
  • Odds of a cut in June and July still remain low, so investors are delaying the first cut to September.
  • Treasury bond yields are rising with the 2-year yield seen at 4.83%, the 5-year yield at 4.44%, and the 10-year yield at 4.42%.

DXY technical analysis: DXY wrestles with momentum as both bulls and bears battle for dominance

The indicators on the daily chart reflect an undecided market that awaits drivers. The flat position of the Relative Strength Index (RSI) in negative territory discloses the conflict within the market, detailing the struggle between buyers and sellers. Moreover, the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) histogram displaying flat red bars supports this idea of bears trying to wrest control over the short term. However, the stalled nature shows a lack of decisive momentum in either direction, reflecting a market awaiting firm direction.

The Simple Moving Averages (SMAs) partially tell a similar tale. The index trading below the 20-day SMA indicates that bears have recently gained some ground. However, the fact that DXY remains above both the 100 and 200-day SMAs suggests that the longer-term bullish momentum cannot be entirely dismissed.

 

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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