Euro rebounds as ECB officials do not rule out another hike
Dollar trades cautiously as Fed policy decision looms
Wall Street nearly unchanged, gold extends gains
ECB policymakers push back on market bets
The euro extended its recovery against its US counterpart on Monday, bolstered by more relatively hawkish ECB rhetoric.
Just a day after the ECB’s decision was interpreted as hinting at the end of this tightening crusade, several policymakers, including President Lagarde, appeared in their hawkish suits, noting that further hikes cannot be ruled out and pushing against market expectations of rate cuts for next year. Yesterday, Slovak policymaker Peter Kazimir echoed his colleagues’ view saying that they would need to wait for the March forecasts to be sure whether Thursday’s hike was the last one and that further rises are not totally off the table yet.
What may have also helped the euro was news that the ECB may soon start discussing how to tackle the multi-trillion-euro pool of excess liquidity, which counters the impact of the ECB rate hikes by reducing competition for deposits among commercial banks.
Although euro/dollar returned and closed back above the key 1.0665 zone, it seems that investors want more assurance that there will be no rate reductions next year. They are currently pricing in more than 50bps worth of rate cuts.
Perhaps they prefer to place more trust in the upcoming data, as the latest results have been far from encouraging for the Eurozone economy. The next set of indicators that may come under scrutiny are Friday’s preliminary PMIs for September. Should they point to deeper economic wounds, even if the price subindices point to stickier inflation, the euro is likely to come under renewed pressure. The latest market activity implies that euro traders are more concerned about economic performance than high inflation, and data ringing the recession alarm bells even louder could prompt them to add to their cut bets.
Dollar traders lock gaze on FOMC decision
The dollar pulled back against most of its major peers on Monday, but it is fractionally higher today. Perhaps dollar traders are reluctant to assume large positions ahead of tomorrow’s FOMC decision.
The Committee is widely anticipated to stand pat and there is only around a 45% probability for another hike before the end credits of this tightening series roll. Despite the US being in better shape than other major economies, investors are still pricing in nearly 80bps worth of rate reductions for next year.
Thus, if officials keep their hands off the hike button, the attention is likely to fall on the updated economic projections and the new dot plot. With recent data not justifying the expected amount of cuts, a dot plot pointing to another hike by year end and/or less rate reductions could add more fuel to the dollar’s engines.
Wall Street on standby; gold recovers above $1,930
On Wall Street, both the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq closed virtually unchanged, with the S&P 500 gaining only 0.07%. Like dollar traders, equity investors have likely adopted a cautious strategy ahead of the FOMC, as a hawkish outcome could have a negative impact on stocks, especially those of high-growth firms, whose valuations are mainly based on discounting expected free cash flows for the quarters and years ahead.
Gold took advantage of the pullback in the US dollar and Treasury yields and climbed above the $1,930 zone. Even when the dollar was on the front foot against all its major peers, and Treasury yields were soaring, gold was not hurt that much, and this is evident by the fact that it is currently floating at levels less than 8% below its record highs. Perhaps the metal is slowly gaining back some of its safe-haven appeal.
Oil prices extended their rally after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday that output for top shale-producing regions is on track to fall to its lowest level since May, adding to supply concerns that stem from Saudi Arabia and Russia’s decision to extend their production cuts.