The US dollar tossed and turned during the recent NY trading session, as traders treated the Greenback as a counter currency for their trades instead of picking a clear direction. Traders are also probably reducing their dollar holdings ahead of today’s FOMC statement. The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged, possibly citing the slowdown in China and the tumble in commodities as enough reason to stand pat. Also lined up are the Fed’s revised economic projections, which might provide better clues on when the liftoff might take place.
The euro resumed its slide after the region reported downgrades in its CPI readings for August. The headline CPI was revised from 0.2% to 0.1% while the core CPI was downgraded from 1.0% to 0.9%. There are no major reports due from the euro zone today, but the overall mood seems bearish since the inflation reports reminded traders that the ECB is open to further easing if necessary.
The pound had a volatile reaction to the UK jobs data but managed to stay in the lead at the end of the day. The economy lost 1.2K jobs in August versus expectations of a 5.1K increase but the unemployment rate still improved from 5.6% to 5.5%. In addition, wage growth picked up from 2.3% to 2.9% in the three months ending in July, hinting at stronger consumer spending down the line. For today, the August UK retail sales report is due and a 0.2% uptick is eyed.
The franc erased some of its recent wins despite the improvement in the Swiss ZEW economic expectations index from 5.9 to 9.7. Traders probably reduced their franc holdings ahead of today’s SNB statement, as this central bank is known for jawboning their currency or even intervening in the forex market. Keep in mind that the SNB might be a little more dovish this time since the ECB has already expressed its willingness to ease again.
The yen lost ground to most of its forex rivals even though Japan didn’t release any reports yesterday. Risk appetite seemed to improve during the Asian trading session, but it remains to be seen whether the yen pairs’ gains can be sustained during the FOMC statement. USDJPY moves often spill over to other yen pairs during this event, as any reduction of dollar holdings could mean more demand for other low-yielding currencies like the yen.
Commodity Currencies (AUD, NZD, CAD)
The comdolls managed to score some gains due to the reduction in oil inventories and the pickup in prices. New Zealand printed a weaker than expected GDP of 0.4% for Q2, but this was still better than the previous 0.2% expansion. There are no major reports due from these comdoll economies today, leaving commodity currencies to take their cue from oil and gold prices during the FOMC decision.
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