The U.S. dollar is fluctuating in a downward trend against most counterparts following the dovish reading of the Fed Minutes yesterday, in which the central bank seemed cautious about raising interest rates. The odds of a hike coming at the March 15th Fed meeting fell to 34.0% after trending in the 40.0%+ range.
Market watchers interpreted the Minutes as a sign of hesitation from Fed officials who appeared less concerned about inflationary growth exceeding their desired 2.0% annual target and want to see further consistency in economic growth. The outlook for the economy is a positive one, but that’s taking under consideration that the Fed is awaiting plans for major fiscal spending from the Trump regime.
We believe current ranges are bound to change next week as we enter March with a slew of data to digest. While the Fed’s policy may be on focus at the moment, the spotlight will turn to Europe and other developments abroad, which because of their negative nature, could hold the dollar afloat. Home Sales figures and consumer Sentiment from the Wolverines (Univ. of Michigan) will close out the week.
The Japanese Yen advanced overnight based on the pessimism behind the Fed rate outlook and downward stock markets across the Asian session. Once again the Yen is improving on being a safe-haven asset and the fact that policy divergence may not be a drag on the Yen in the short-term.
Also, day-trading of USD/JPY pair has increased in Japan where investors are jumping on the wild swings that occur from statements and uncertainty in the U.S. The currency couple that looked so boring just a few years back is the most exciting investment in a time of high volatility. JPY is up 1.8% since February 15th.
The Euro strengthened by over half a percent since noon yesterday as a result of major changes to the upcoming presidential election in France. Candidate Francois Bayrou announced that he would no longer seek to be head of state in order to support candidate Emmanuel Macron and significantly improve his chances of preventing a Marine Le Pen presidency. Ms. Le Pen has promised to do all she can to isolate France if elected by pushing for abandonment of the Euro and the European Union as well. Markets welcomed the news of the alliance.
We expect the euro to continue trading in positive ranges since it recovered from falling to its weakest level since January from political developments, but also because German and French data met expectations. Gross domestic Product in Germany and Business Confidence in France boosted the shared currency, but the effect may have been subdued by Italian Retail Sales that revealed a contraction instead of an expected expansion.