SINGAPORE, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The dollar regained its footing on Wednesday and inch higher after a slew of Federal Reserve speakers left the door open to further rate hikes, as traders looked to a speech from Chair Jerome Powell on the central bank’s future policy path.
The greenback, which tumbled last week in the wake of the Fed’s decision to hold its policy rate steady and on data pointing to a cooling US labor market, has found a floor as markets remain at odds over whether a peak in US rates has been reached and how soon the Fed could begin easing monetary conditions.
Futures point to a roughly 15% chance of another hike by January, but are pricing in a 22% chance that rate cuts could come as early as March, according to the CME FedWatch tool.
The British pound , which earlier in the week hit a seven-week top against the dollar, was last some distance away at $1.2286.
The Japanese yen again slipped to the weaker side of 150 per dollar after a slight reprieve last week. It last stood at 150.56 per dollar.
The US dollar index , which last week clocked its sharpest weekly fall in about four months, rose 0.03% to 105.57 and was on track for a weekly gain.
“We’ve seen a slight recovery in the US dollar, but this is to be expected following such a sharp selloff,” said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index.
“We’re also seeing the obligatory hawkish pushback from Fed speakers this week, as they try to steer market expectations away from rate cuts.”
A slew of Fed policymakers on Tuesday maintained a balanced tone and said they are weighing strong economic data, some signs of a slowdown, and the impact of higher long-term bond yields as they consider if they will need to hike rates further to bring down inflation.
Focus now turns to a speech by Fed Chair Powell later on Wednesday.
“There’s risk we could see further US dollar strength today assuming Powell and (company) continue to remind markets of their ‘higher for longer’ narrative,” said Simpson.
The euro fell 0.07% to $1.0691, further weighed by a darkening growth outlook in the euro zone. Data on Tuesday showed German industrial production fell more than expected in September.
“The mixed outlook for consumer and investment spending leaves the euro zone very close to recession,” said Wells Fargo economist Nick Bennenbroek.
“Regardless of whether the euro zone falls into recession, we see enough growth headwinds to suggest that the European Central Bank’s monetary tightening is done.”
Down Under, the Australian dollar struggled at $0.6425, having slid 0.8% in the previous session – its largest daily decline in about a month.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Tuesday raised interest rates to a 12-year high, ending four months of steady policy, but watered down its tightening bias to make it more conditional on incoming data.
“We do not expect that the RBA will follow up with another rate increase in December,” said Westpac’s chief economist Luci Ellis.
“The last paragraph of the statement contained a shift in language… This reads as the board hoping not to have to raise rates again, but being very willing to do so if things change. There is not enough new information between now and the December meeting to drive a change in view.”
The New Zealand dollar also fell 0.12% to $0.5928.
Reporting by Rae Wee; Editing by Lincoln Feast.
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