Money & Banking

Pressure on risk currencies subside, US inflation in focus

Reuters Tokyo | Updated on July 12, 2021

Concerns about the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus also added to the cautious mood

Risk currencies hovered above their recent lows against the dollar and the yen on Monday, as fears about slowdown in the global economic recovery appeared to have subsided for now.

The outlook for US inflation and the speed of the Federal Reserve‘s future policy tightening are back in focus ahead of Tuesday’s consumer price data and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony from Wednesday.

“If we see strong data, the Fed could bring forward their projection for their first rate hike further from their current forecast of 2023. That would also mean they have to finish tapering earlier,” said Shinichiro Kadota, senior FX strategist at Barclays.

The euro traded at $1.1873, edging back from its three-month low of $1.17815 set on Wednesday while against the yen the common currency stood at ¥130.87, off Thursday’s 2-1/2-month low of ¥129.63.

Sterling also ticked up to $1.3900, while the Australian dollar bounced back to $0.7487 from Friday’s seven-month low of $0.7410.

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Risk currencies slipped earlier last week as investors curtailed their bets on them, in part as economic data from many countries fell short of the market’s expectations.

Concerns about the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus also added to the cautious mood although few investors thought the economic recovery would be derailed.

Chinese eonomy

Selling in risk currencies subsided by Friday, however, and sentiment was bolstered further after China cut banks’ reserve requirement ratio across the board, to underpin its economic recovery that is starting to lose momentum.

On Monday, the Chinese yuan was flat at 6.4785 per dollar, off Friday’s 2-1/2-month low of 6.5005.

A recovery in risk sentiment hampered the safe-haven yen on Monday. The Japanese currency stood at 110.17 yen per dollar, off Thursday’s one-month high of 109.535.

With the data calendar on Monday relatively bare, many investors are looking to Tuesday’s US consumer price data for June.

Economists polled by Reuters expect core CPI to have risen 0.4 per cent from May and 4 per cent from a year earlier after two straight months of sharp gains in prices.

Any signs that inflation could be more persistent than previously thought could fan expectations the Fed may exit from current stimulus earlier, supporting the dollar against other major currencies.

Conversely, more benign data could lead investors to think the US central bank can afford to maintain an easy policy framework for longer, encouraging more bets on risk assets,including risk-sensitive currencies.

Cryptocurrencies were little moved, with bitcoin at $34,267and ether at $2,137.

Published on July 12, 2021

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