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FOREX-Dollar steady, US inflation data awaited for Fed direction
July 14, 2017 / 3:16 AM / 5 months ago

FOREX-Dollar steady, US inflation data awaited for Fed direction

* U.S. CPI data awaited for its impact on Fed’s rates stance

* Euro unable to capitalise on higher euro zone yields

* Aussie hits 4-mth high as risk appetite improves

* Yen sags broadly against its peers (Adds details and quotes, updates prices)

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, July 14 (Reuters) - The dollar was little changed against a group of peers early on Friday, as currency investors remained cautious ahead of U.S. inflation data due later in the session, which is expected to set the greenback’s near-term direction.

The U.S. currency’s recent advance, notably against the yen, has stalled towards the end of this week as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen curbed some of the monetary tightening expectations that had supported the greenback.

Signs of a pickup in U.S. inflation could reinforce views that the Fed would hike interest rates again sooner rather than later, which would lift Treasury yields and the dollar.

However, the core consumer price index (CPI) is forecast to have risen only 1.7 percent year-on-year in June after a similar gain in May. On a month-on-month basis, the core CPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent gain the previous month.

“After their June rate hike, the Fed is seen watching inflation trends carefully before tightening policy again. So market interest towards inflation data is very high and the dollar is likely to move widely in either direction,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at Mizuho Securities.

The dollar index against a basket of major currencies was flat at 95.740, poised to end the week 0.25 percent lower.

The greenback inched up 0.1 percent to 113.415 yen but still some distance away from a four-month peak of 114.495 struck on Tuesday.

Other currencies also advanced against the yen. The euro rose 0.2 percent to 129.400 yen, sterling also added 0.2 percent, to 146.90 yen and the Australian dollar climbed 0.3 percent to 87.89 yen, its highest since mid-February.

“Central banks around the world are poised to move from an emergency mode to a more normal stance, with the exception of Japan,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior forex strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“The yen clearly stands out as a result and its weakness is likely to persist.”

The euro was little changed at $1.1407, unable to draw much lift even as Germany’s 10-year bund yield climbed back above the 0.50 percent threshold overnight on a report that the European Central Bank is likely to signal in September that its asset purchase programme will be gradually wound down next year.

“The euro has become top heavy over the past few days with participants unwinding some of the bloated long positions built up recently. But the euro is still likely to begin probing highs again on speculation that the ECB would begin normalising policy,” Yamamoto at Mizuho Securities said.

The common currency had set a 14-month high of $1.1489 on Wednesday on views that the ECB would begin reversing its very easy monetary policy sooner rather than later.

The Australian dollar touched a four-month peak of $0.7746 . The Aussie was on track to rise 1.7 percent on the week, lifted by an improvement in broader investor risk appetite thanks to hopes for a more gradual tightening schedule by the Fed and rise in prices of commodities, notably iron ore.

The New Zealand dollar, another relatively high-yielding currency that has benefited from stronger risk appetite this week, traded at $0.7320 after climbing to an eight-month peak of $0.7369 on Thursday. (Editing by Sam Holmes)

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