- US Dollar has regained its traction following Tuesday’s decline.
- The sharp increase seen in US Treasury bond yields provides a boost to USD.
- USD could continue to find demand with investors moving away from risk-sensitive assets.
The US Dollar (USD) has managed to shake off the selling pressure mid-week after having weakened against its major rivals on Tuesday. In the absence of high-impact macroeconomic data releases from the United States (US), rising US Treasury bond yields seem to be helping the USD outperform its major rivals. Furthermore, the USD, as a safe-haven asset, further benefits from the souring market mood.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the USD performance against a basket of six major currencies, advanced to a fresh daily high above 102.00 before retracing a portion of its daily rebound in the second half of the day.
Daily digest market movers: US Dollar keeps its footing mid-week
- Stronger-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) data from the UK revived fears over sticky global inflation and triggered a rally in global bond yields.
- The benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield turned north early Wednesday and climbed to its highest level in nearly a month above 3.6%.
- Wall Street’s main indexes opened in negative territory after having closed virtually unchanged on Tuesday.
- St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told Reuters on Tuesday that interest rates will need to continue to rise in the absence of clear progress on inflation. Bullard further noted that he is still seeing the “adequately restrictive policy rate” at 5.50%-5.75% range and added that is biased to hold rates there for longer until inflation is contained.
- Housing Starts in the US declined by 0.8% on a monthly basis in March following February’s increase of 7.3% (revised from 9.8%). In the same period, Building Permits decreased by 8.8%, compared to the market expectation of +1.45%.
- The data from China showed on Tuesday that the world’s second-largest economy expanded by an annualized rate of 4.5% in the first quarter, much stronger than the 2.9% growth recorded in the last quarter of 2022. This reading also came in better than analysts’ estimate for an expansion of 4%. Other data revealed that Industrial Production expanded by 3.9% and Retail Sales rose by 10.6% on a yearly basis, compared to analysts’ estimate of 7.4%.
- On Wednesday, the Fed will release the Beige Book. Existing Home Sales and Initial Jobless Claims data will be featured in the US economic docket on Thursday ahead of S&P Global’s Manufacturing and Services PMI surveys on Friday.
- Previewing the Fed’s publication, “since the March 21-22 meeting, the data suggest that activity is slowing, the labor market is softening, and price pressures are easing,” said analysts at BBH. “Notably, supply chains continue to improve. We believe the Beige Book will highlight these trends that support a pause after what is widely expected to be another 25 bps hike whilst leaving the door open for further tightening if needed.”
- Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said on Monday that he wants to see more evidence of inflation settling back to target.
- The data published by the US Census Bureau revealed on Friday that Retail Sales declined by 1% on a monthly basis in March. On a positive note, March’s reading of -0.4% got revised higher to -0.2%.
- The University of Michigan’s (UoM) Consumer Confidence Index edged higher to 63.5 in April’s flash estimate from 62 in March.
- The one-year consumer inflation expectation component of the UoM’s survey climbed to 4.6% from 3.6% in March, providing a boost to the USD.
- “Monetary policy will need to remain tight for a substantial period and longer than markets anticipate,” Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said on Friday. Waller further argued that the recent data show that the Fed hasn’t made much progress on its inflation goal.
- In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic noted that recent developments in the US economy were consistent with one more rate hike.
- According to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, markets are currently pricing in a more-than-80% probability of a 25 basis points (bps) Fed rate hike in May.
Technical analysis: US Dollar Index trades near key resistance
The US Dollar Index trades slightly below the 20-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) currently located at 102.20. In case the DXY closes the day above that level, it could target 103.00 (static level, psychological level) and 103.50 (50-day SMA, 100-day SMA).
Meanwhile, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) indicator on the daily chart stays near 50, suggesting that sellers refrain from committing to further USD weakness.
On the downside, 101.50 (static level) align as interim support ahead of 101.00/100.80 (psychological level, static level, multi-month low set on April 14). A daily close below that support area could open the door for an extended slide toward 100.00 (psychological level).
How is US Dollar correlated with US stock markets?
Stock markets in the US are likely to turn bearish if the Federal Reserve goes into a tightening cycle to battle rising inflation. Higher interest rates will ramp up the cost of borrowing and weigh on business investment. In that scenario, investors are likely to refrain from taking on high-risk, high-return positions. As a result of risk aversion and tight monetary policy, the US Dollar Index (DXY) should rise while the broad S&P 500 Index declines, revealing an inverse correlation.
During times of monetary loosening via lower interest rates and quantitative easing to ramp up economic activity, investors are likely to bet on assets that are expected to deliver higher returns, such as shares of technology companies. The Nasdaq Composite is a technology-heavy index and it is expected to outperform other major equity indexes in such a period. On the other hand, the US Dollar Index should turn bearish due to the rising money supply and the weakening safe-haven demand.
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The US Dollar (USD) clung to its modest gains attained overnight, staying just above its three-week lows as the markets opened in the US. The currency, which had previously been on a downward spiral amid increasing concerns over the US-China stalemate on trade and the US President’s threats of “substantial” additional tariffs on China, saw some much-needed relief in the late hours of Asia trading today.
The resilience of the USD comes despite a decline in global equity markets, which opened in the red today, as worries of a global growth slowdown continued to linger. The greenback was further supported by a pick-up in safe-haven flows away from equities and into the US currency, which added to its stability.
At the same time, other major currencies have been more volatile. The Euro (EUR) lost ground against the Dollar early in the day, after the data released by Markit showed that the German manufacturing sector had contracted for the first time in six years in November. The Pound (GBP) also weakened against the Greenback on the back of uncertainties related to the UK’s Brexit negotiations and the recent activity of the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve.
As of this writing, the US Dollar index remains slightly above the 95.15 level, the weakest point reached since mid-October. Nevertheless, with the markets in a state of flux and a number of fundamental events and data releases slated for the coming days, it is expected that the US Dollar will see further choppiness, as investors remain wary of the continuing US-China trade dispute.