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    US Dollar set for weekly gains after strong economic data reprices Fed rate cut bets

    Source Fxstreet
    Mar 15, 2024 12:45
    • The US Dollar locks in gains for this week after hotter-than-expected US CPI and PPI figures.
    • Traders brace for Import-Export prices and Michigan Consumer Sentiment numbers. 
    • The US Dollar Index trades at a crucial pivotal level that could unlock 104.00.

    The US Dollar (USD) trades firmly in the green on Friday after markets got shaken on Thursday after a badge of US economic data suggested inflation pressures are far from over.. A textbook panic attack took place in markets, with risk assets such as equities and Bitcoin selling off, yields jumping higher with bonds being sold and the US Dollar strengthening against everything. The surprise uptick in the Produce Price Index (PPI) numbers spooked investors, who rushed to reprice the first interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve (Fed) away from June and towards September. 

    On Friday’s economic calendar, there are some lighter data set to be released. Still, many investors will be set to square their positions for this week ahead of the US Federal Reserve rate decision next week and the risk event of the Bank of Japan, which could opt for hiking interest rates for the first time in decades. For this Friday, the Import and Export prices data and the preliminary data from the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment and Inflation Expectations for March could eke out some more gains for the Greenback. 

    Daily digest market movers: Last data points opportunity

    • At 12:30, Import and Export price data for February will be released:
      • The monthly Import price Index  headed from 0.8% to 0.3%, while the Yearly Import Index fell by 0.8% in January.
      • The monthly Export price Index declined  from 0.0% to 0.8%. The Yearly Export Index fell by 1.8% in January.
      • The New York Empire State Manufacturing Index for March did a nosedive move from -2.4 to -20.9. 
    • At 13:15 GMT, both Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization data for February will be released. Production is expected to remain roughly stable, from -0.1% to 0.0%. Capacity Utilization is seen unchanged at 78.5%.
    • The last data number for this Friday is the University of Michigan release, at 14:00 GMT:
      • Consumer Sentiment for March is expected to remain stable at 76.9.
      • Inflation expectations were at 2.9% in February, with no forecast available. 
    • Equities are carefully in the green after the bloodbath on both the European and US equity markets. European indices are though mildly in the green while US futures are flat ahead of the US opening. 
    • According to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, expectations for a Fed pause in the March 20 meeting are at 99%, while chances of a rate cut stand at 1%.  The odds of a June rate cut are around 60%, below the above 70% priced in a week ago. 
    • The benchmark 10-year US Treasury Note trades around 4.28%, the highest level this week.

    US Dollar Index Technical Analysis: Brief return of the King

    The US Dollar Index (DXY) –not Elvis Presley of course – made its way back to the stage on Thursday after markets got shaken with the US Dollar as the sole winner. Although the PPI numbers might have sparked some worries on the June timing, it is again a mere repricing, by moving the probability for that initial rate cut from June to September. It is the same story we have seen year-to-date, which means that the probability of the DXY falling back to 103.00 is substantially bigger than rallying back up to 104.00.

    On the upside, the 55-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) at 103.42 is facing some pressure. Not far above, a double barrier is set to hit with the  100-day SMA near 103.68 and the 200-day SMA near 103.70. Depending on the catalyst that pushes the DXY upwards, 104.96 remains the key level on the topside. 

    As mentioned in the opening paragraph on technical analysis, the move from Thursday already covers that pushback of a rate cut to September, and a move further down the line to December looks very unlikely. More downside thus, looks inevitable once markets move forward again to the June probability,  with 103.00 and 102.00 up next, which bears some pivotal relevance. Once through there, the road is open for another leg lower to 100.61, the low of 2023.


    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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