Dollar stalls as dovish Fed tone dials down rate expectations

Dollar stalls as dovish Fed tone dials down rate expectations

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar remained steady against major peers on Tuesday, after a pause in its rally following a slight dovish shift in Federal Reserve officials’ tone.

Moves in the Asia session were small as traders waited on further Fed appearances later in the day, Fed minutes on Wednesday and U.S. inflation data on Thursday for more guidance on the trend in interest rates.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars made one-week highs before falling back to flat – leaving the Aussie at $0.6411 and kiwi at $0.6015. Sterling, last at $1.2224 and the euro, at $1.0561, traded broadly steady.

The yen dipped marginally, handing back some of its small gains as violence in the Middle East supported buying of safe-haven assets. It was last about 0.1% lower at 147.7 per dollar. The Swiss franc was steady at 0.9066 to the dollar.

The Israeli shekel was pinned at 3.95 to the dollar, just off an almost eight-year low, after the central bank promised $30 billion in foreign exchange selling.

Last week’s hot U.S. jobs data and a Palestinian militants’ weekend attack on Israel had put the dollar higher until comments from two Fed officials on Monday noted recent rises in long-term yields might negate the need for further hikes.

“If long-term interest rates remain elevated because of higher term premiums, there may be less need to raise the Fed funds rate,” said Dallas Fed president Lorie Logan — a notable shift from previously hawkish rhetoric.

Fed Vice Chair Philip Jefferson said the central bank would need to “proceed carefully” given the recent rise in yields.

“There are another 13 Fed speakers scheduled this week which could see this theme develop further,” said analysts at Westpac.

“Against that backdrop dollar index downside could extend to 105.50, the first retracement target of the run up from late July,” they said, though rallying toward 109 over the next few months was also possible.

The dollar index was last 0.1% higher at 106.1.


Futures-implied pricing for the chance of another Fed hike this year fell from above 40% last week to about 26% on Tuesday and markets also nudged up expectations for the size of rate hikes in 2024.

Ten-year Treasury yields, which have been zooming, dived more than 13 basis points to 4.63% at the open in Tokyo on Tuesday on both rates relief and a safe-haven bet after the cash market had shut for Columbus Day on Monday. [US/]

“The idea that the increases in bond yields have done part of the tightening job appears to be gaining traction among some Fed officials,” said OCBC rates strategist Frances Cheung.

“We remain of the view that the (Fed) is done hiking rates, but inflation is still the swing factor and market likely stays volatile in the short term.”

China’s return from a week’s break has traders’ eyes back focused on the daily fix of the yuan’s trading band, which has been set far firmer than market expectations for some time.

Tuesday was no exception with the fix even stronger and the yuan holding just shy of its 50-day moving average at 7.2881 in the onshore market.[CNY/]

“The People’s Bank of China is unlikely to loosen its grip on the yuan fixing in the near term and the FX stability will remain the priority in China’s policy agenda,” said Mizuho’s chief Asia FX strategist Ken Cheung.

“Indeed, the PBOC stands exceptionally firm to defend its currency against dollar strength compared to other central banks,” he said, boosting the yuan against a basket of trading partners’ currencies over the past month.

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