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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

Dollar slips ahead of conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting

Traders had previously expected three rate cuts this year, likely beginning in June

Reuters New York Published 02.05.24, 08:39 AM

The dollar slipped on Wednesday ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, with investors focused on whether US Fed Chair Jerome Powell will adopt a more hawkish tone as inflation remains stubbornly above its 2 per cent annual target.

Stickier than expected consumer price inflation in March dashed hopes that elevated readings in January and February were anomalies, leading traders to push back expectations on when the US central bank is likely to cut interest rates. Fed fund futures traders price in only one rate cut this year, with a 50 per cent probability it will occur in September.

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Traders had previously expected three rate cuts this year, likely beginning in June.

The dollar index fell 0.11 per cent to 106.20, after earlier reaching 106.49, the highest since April 16. A break above the 106.51 would be the highest since early November.

“The market is clearly concerned that the Fed will take some hawkish steps,” said Adam Button, chief currency analyst at ForexLive in Toronto. However, Powell is unlikely to put the prospect of new interest rate hikes on the table on Wednesday, and is instead likely to promote holding rates higher for longer. That could disappoint investors and send the dollar lower against peers.

“We’ve seen this play out dozens of times where the market gets frightened about a hawkish Fed and then Powell is neutral or dovish,” Button said.

The ADP Employment report on Wednesday showed that US private payrolls increased more than expected in April while data for the prior month was revised higher.

A US Labor Department report, meanwhile, showed that job openings fell in March.

Separately US manufacturing contracted in April after briefly expanding in March, while a measure of prices paid by for inputs approached a two-year high.

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