The dollar was broadly flat against major currencies on February 1 ahead of an eagerly-awaited Federal Reserve policy decision that investors hope will signal the end of the US central bank’s interest rate hiking cycle, Report informs referring to Reuters.
After a series of jumbo rate hikes in 2022 to tame inflation, the market is all but certain of a 25 basis points (bps) increase in interest rates later on February 1. The spotlight, however, will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s news conference as traders attempt to gauge how long the Fed is likely to stay hawkish.
The dollar index, which measures the US currency against six major peers, fell 0.029% at 102.06. It slipped 0.16% in the previous session, in part because of a report showing US labor costs had increased in the fourth quarter at their slowest pace in a year.
The index has fallen for four straight months. As investors price in the Fed reaching the end of its rate-hike cycle, the index is far from the 20-year high of 114.78 it touched on September 28.
Investor attention this week will also be on the monetary path taken by European Central Bank and Bank of England, each of which is expected to raise interest rates by 50 bps on February 2.
The euro up 0.04% to $1.0866, while sterling was last trading at $1.2314, down 0.05% on the day. The yen weakened 0.10% to 130.25 per dollar.
The Australian dollar rose 0.18% to $0.707, while the kiwi fell 0.05% to $0.644.
The Fed is due to announce its rate decision at 1900 GMT, with prices of Fed funds futures implying the Fed’s benchmark rate will peak at 4.91% in June, then fall to 4.48% by December.
The Fed raised interest rates by 50 bps in December after four successive 75 bps hikes. It said then that interest rates might need to be higher for longer to tame inflation.
Beyond the main event of the Fed meeting, investors will also focus on ISM manufacturing and job opening data due on February 1 that will further highlight the state of US economy and labor market.
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