US Dollar eases slightly as US markets close for Memorial Day

Source Fxstreet
May 27, 2024 12:16
  • The US Dollar index (DXY) closed below the key 105.00 level last week, extending the downside on Monday. 
  • US markets are closed due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. 
  • The US Dollar could ease further after an important daily and weekly close on the charts. 

The US Dollar (USD) trades a little softer against most major peers on Monday as there is not much to report for the Greenback, with US markets closed for the Memorial Day holidays. However, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, a change in stance on the European Central Bank (ECB) is starting to form. 

There is a very quiet economic data calendar on Monday. Most of this week will be rather quiet, with only some soft data and US Federal Reserve (Fed) speeches ahead towards Thursday. Then, the second estimate for the Q1 US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Thursday and April’s US Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) numbers on Friday could hit markets and leave more clues on the disinflationary pathway in the US and what the Fed might do next. 

Daily digest market movers: Some small headlines

  • Traders are still looking into more details on a headline from Friday where President Vladimir Putin said to be willing to have a ceasefire and start up peace talks if current frontlines can be adhered to as new official borders. 
  • ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane said that an interest rate cut in June looks a given, though it might take longer for the next cut. This completely goes against the three-cut expectations from the markets, with several ECB policymakers recently saying that a June rate cut might be a ‘one and done’ for 2024.
  • There is risk-on sentiment across the board, with China and Europe markets comfortably in the green. 
  • The CME Fedwatch Tool is pricing 99.1% for no change in the policy rate for June. September futures are seeing more action, where it is a neck-and-neck race with 50.2% chances for keeping rates unchanged against 44.9% chances for a 25 basic points (bps) rate cut and 4.5% chances for even 50 bps rate cut. A marginal 0.5% price in an interest rate hike.
  • The benchmark 10-year US Treasury Note trades around 4.46% and is not moving on Monday with the US bank holiday. 

US Dollar Index Technical Analysis: Technical ugly picture

The US Dollar Index (DXY) faces a bit of a horror story on the technical front after its weekly close on Friday. First of all, on the weekly chart, the DXY closed below the 100-week Simple Moving Average (SMA), which is a severe bearish signal and could point to a further downturn. A similar picture is seen on the daily chart, where the DXY was unable to stay afloat above the 55-day SMA at 104.86 and gave up its gains for the week above 105.00. 

On the upside, the DXY index needs to reclaim those levels it lost last week: the 55-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) at 104.86 and the 105.00 big round level.  Further up, the following levels to consider are 105.12 and 105.52. 

On the downside, the 200-day SMA at 104.40 and the 100-day SMA around 104.30 are the last line of defence. Once that level snaps, an air pocket is placed between 104.30 and 103.00. Should the US Dollar decline persist, the low of March at 102.35 and the low from December at 100.62 are levels to consider.  

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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