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Dollar edges higher ahead of retail sales, speeches by Fed officials

Published 2024/06/18, 10:26
© Reuters

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar edged higher Tuesday ahead of key retail sales data and speeches by Federal Reserve officials, as traders looked for clues to better gauge the timing and pace of interest rate cuts.

At 04:20 ET (08:20 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.2% higher at 105.125, but still lies below Friday's 1 1/2-month high of 105.80..

Dollar sees volatile trading

The U.S. currency has seen volatile trading over the last week, weighed by cooling inflation readings but then supported by the Federal Reserve reducing the number of cuts projected this year to just one, from three in March.  

Investors are trying to work out when the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates, and thus will be studying the retail sales data for May, due later in the session.

Economists are expecting retail sales to have risen 0.3%, after they were unexpectedly flat in April.

Also of interest will be the speeches of a number of Fed officials during the week.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker indicated on Monday that investors should probably only expect one interest rate cut this year.

"If all of it happens to be as forecasted, I think one rate cut would be appropriate by year's end," Harker said, after outlining his view that he sees slowing but above-trend economic growth, a modest rise in the unemployment rate, and a "long glide" back to target for inflation as his base case.

Euro stabilizes after politics-inspired losses

EUR/USD fell 0.1% to 1.0724, with the euro stabilizing to a degree after the previous week’s sharp losses in the wake of political turmoil following the rise of the far-right parties in the European Parliament elections, and the announcement of a snap election in France.

“The swing in option positioning and EUR/USD undervaluation suggest that, should markets scale back political risk premium, there would be a substantial room for rebound in the pair,” said analysts at ING, in a note.

“However, we doubt this may happen before the 30 June first round parliamentary vote in France, and the euro should remain a laggard in any USD-negative dynamics.”

The final reading of the May consumer price index for the eurozone is due later in the session, with the annual figure expected to be confirmed at 2.6%, an increase from 2.4% the previous month. 

GBP/USD fell 0.2% to 1.2679, ahead of the release of May U.K. CPI on Wednesday and the Bank of England's policy meeting the following day.

The consumer price index is expected to come down to the bank’s 2% target for the first time in nearly three years, but underlying inflation is expected to remain above 3%.

The BoE is likely to keep rates unchanged, with markets now pricing a roughly 40% chance of an August quarter point move and a 70% chance in September.

Aussie stable after RBA holds rates  

In Asia, USD/JPY traded 0.3% higher to 158.16, with the yen still weak after the Bank of Japan kept rates steady last week and said it will only provide clear signals on its plans to begin reducing its bond purchases at its July meeting. 

USD/CNY traded largely unchanged at 7.2561, while AUD/USD slipped slightly to 0.6611, unfazed by the Reserve Bank of Australia's as-expected decision to hold rates steady on Tuesday.


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