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Dollar flat to slightly higher, but weak outlook intact as Fed's Powell weighs

GLOBAL-FOREX:Dollar pulls back as Powell sticks to usual Fed playbook
GLOBAL-FOREX:Dollar pulls back as Powell sticks to usual Fed playbook Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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By Harry Robertson and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

LONDON/NEW YORK - The dollar was flat to slightly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, as investors paused selling the greenback, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell did not significantly change his U.S. interest rate outlook despite a strong U.S. jobs report last week.

The greenback's outlook remained tilted to the downside as the Fed nears the end of its tightening cycle and the markets price in rate cuts by the end of the year, analysts said.

In a question-and-answer session before the Economic Club of Washington on Tuesday, Powell said interest rates might need to move higher than expected if the U.S. economy remained strong, but reiterated he felt a process of "disinflation" is underway.

The greenback slipped as Powell spoke.

"The dollar weakened because Powell was not hawkish. There were a few nuggets in his speech that suggested that the jobs report has not materially shifted the Fed's outlook," said Thierry Wizman, global FX and rates strategist at Macquarie in New York.

"Despite the data dependency of the outlook since last week, Powell did not even answer questions on whether or not he would have raised rates by more had he seen (the jobs report). Based on that demeanor, he would have not raised more and the outlook itself has not changed on one data point."

In midmorning trading, the euro was slightly higher at $1.0733 after falling to $1.067 the previous session, its lowest since Jan. 9. It remained far above September's 20-year low of $0.953.

Investors also digested hawkish comments from two German officials at the European Central Bank (ECB).

"From where I stand today we need further, significant rate hikes," German central bank chief Joachim Nagel told the newspaper Boersen-Zeitung on Tuesday.

His colleague Isabel Schnabel said it is not yet clear that the ECB rate hikes so far would bring inflation back to 2%.

Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar index was flat at to 103.33 on Wednesday, after slipping the previous session.

Sterling rose 0.2% to $1.207, recovering from Tuesday's one-month trough of $1.196.

The greenback had a short-lived rally following Friday's blockbuster jobs report, which showed that non-farm payrolls had surged by 517,000 jobs last month.

That sent the U.S. dollar index to a one-month high of 103.96 on Tuesday, as investors raised their expectations of how much further the Fed would need to keep raising interest rates.

Futures pricing on Wednesday showed that markets are expecting the Fed funds rate to peak just above 5.1% by July, from a range of 4.5% to 4.75% currently. But the market has priced in Fed cuts as well with the implied fed funds rate at 4.8% by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, according to pricing in derivatives markets, traders expect the ECB to hike rates to rise to around 3.5% in late summer, from 2.5% now.

Elsewhere, the dollar rose 0.2% against the yen to 131.315 yen

Japanese real wages rose for the first time in nine months thanks to robust temporary bonuses, data on Tuesday showed.

The New Zealand dollar dipped 0.1% to US$0.6319. The Aussie dollar slipped 0.1% as well to US$0.6953 after surging more than 1% on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday raised its cash rate by 25 basis points.

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Currency bid prices at 9:52AM (1452 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 103.4300 103.3100 +0.13% -0.058% +103.4400 +102.9900

Euro/Dollar $1.0720 $1.0729 -0.08% +0.05% +$1.0761 +$1.0718

Dollar/Yen 131.4650 131.0900 +0.29% +0.28% +131.4750 +130.6000

Euro/Yen 140.93 140.62 +0.22% +0.45% +140.9500 +140.3000

Dollar/Swiss 0.9207 0.9223 -0.14% -0.39% +0.9223 +0.9179

Sterling/Dollar $1.2062 $1.2050 +0.11% -0.25% +$1.2109 +$1.2043

Dollar/Canadian 1.3423 1.3401 +0.16% -0.94% +1.3424 +1.3361

Aussie/Dollar $0.6940 $0.6960 -0.28% +1.81% +$0.6996 +$0.6940

Euro/Swiss 0.9869 0.9888 -0.19% -0.26% +0.9895 +0.9868

Euro/Sterling 0.8886 0.8902 -0.18% +0.47% +0.8911 +0.8875

NZ $0.6304 $0.6326 -0.34% -0.72% +$0.6348 +$0.6304

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 10.2945 10.3255 -0.33% +4.87% +10.3205 +10.2320

Euro/Norway 11.0376 11.0619 -0.22% +5.18% +11.0788 +10.9966

Dollar/Sweden 10.5892 10.5689 +0.12% +1.74% +10.5922 +10.4972

Euro/Sweden 11.3523 11.3385 +0.12% +1.82% +11.3571 +11.2930

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