Dollar steadies ahead of PCE data; euro drifts higher

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Dollar steadies ahead of PCE data; euro drifts higher
Credit: © Reuters.

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar steadied in early European trade Monday, but remained elevated at the start of a week dominated by key inflation releases, including the Federal Reserve’s favorite gauge.

At 04:05 ET (09:05 GMT), the Dollar Index , which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded marginally lower at 103.832, having bounced from the 103.43 level seen at the end of last week, the lowest since Feb. 2. 

Dollar awaits key inflation gauge

The dollar recorded its first weekly loss in 2024 last week, but remained within sight of three-month highs, as a chorus of Federal Reserve officials warned that the bank was in no hurry to begin trimming interest rates early, especially as inflation remained sticky. 

PCE price index data, which is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, is set to provide more cues on inflation this week, amid expectations for a 0.4% increase on a monthly basis.

Several more Fed officials are also expected to speak this week and likely reiterate the outlook of higher-for-longer interest rates.

“FX has been trapped in a narrow range. US data have been even stronger than our robust expectations, and both markets and Fed speakers have evolved to acknowledge there appears to be no rush to ease policy,” said analysts at Goldman Sachs, in a note dated Feb. 23.

Eurozone inflation looms large

In Europe, EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.0835, with the euro posting small gains ahead of Friday’s closely watched eurozone inflation data, the last such reading before the upcoming European Central Bank meeting on March 7.

Economists are expecting an annual reading of 2.5% for February, dropping from 2.8% in January, moving back towards the ECB’s 2% target after soaring to double digits in 2022.

Inflation reports from Germany , France and Spain are due on Thursday, ahead of the main release.

“A higher-than-expected inflation report … would likely push the currency back towards pre-payrolls levels (around 1.09) and severely dampen the chance of policy divergence in the first half of the year,” Goldman added.

GBP/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.2672, with sterling still hit by the drop in U.K. consumer confidence at the end of last week.

U.K. inflation continues to run at levels above the Bank of England’s 2% medium-term target, suggesting the BOE is still likely to lag the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank when it comes to rate cuts.

Yen still weak ahead of Japanese CPI release

In Asia, USD/JPY traded 0.1% higher to 150.59, with the yen still well above the 150 level and remaining close to three-month lows.

Focus this week was squarely on Japanese consumer price index data for January, due on Tuesday. The reading is expected to show core inflation falling within the Bank of Japan’s 2% annual target range, giving the central bank even less impetus to begin aggressively tightening policy.

USD/CNY edged 0.1% higher to 7.1985, following a stronger-than-expected midpoint fix from the People’s Bank. 

Sentiment towards Chinese markets remained largely on edge before more cues on China’s economy, from purchasing managers index data for February, due later this week.

Concerns over a slowing economic recovery were a key weight on the yuan in recent months, keeping the currency in sight of a three-month low. 

 

 

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