Tag Archives: Fed

Central Banks

The US Dollar (USD) weakened overnight as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.50% and pared the outlook for more rate hikes this year. The market expectation is now that there will likely only be two 0.25% rate hikes this year, down from December’s prediction of four.

Whilst the Federal Reserve acknowledged that the US economy was expanding at a moderate pace, economic projections were downgraded with Real GDP forecast at 2.2% this year down from earlier predictions of 2.4%. The Federal Reserve acknowledged the growing risks of a weakening global economic outlook.

Today the market will focus on interest rate decisions from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) at 08:30, Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway) at 09:00 and the Bank of England (BoE) at 12:00.

Opinions on what the SNB will do today are divided. There are some expectations that in response to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) easing the SNB might cut the range of its 3 month LIBOR rate to -0.50% and -1.50% from the current -0.25% and -1.25% range. However, as EUR/CHF is held well inside recent range and the ECB have ruled out more rate cuts, the pressure on the SNB to deliver lower rates today is limited so the SNB might opt to hold rates at current levels. Nonetheless, the SNB could have a dovish tone in the accompanying statement. EUR/CHF currently trades @ 1.0990, USD/CHF @ 0.9745 and GBP/CHF @ 1.3920.

The Norges Bank today is forecast to cut its key rate by 0.25% to 0.50% and the rate outlook is also likely to be revised down. EUR/NOK currently trades @ 9.46, USD/NOK @ 8.39 and GBP/NOK @ 11.99.

The Bank of England is expected to hold rates at 0.50% and its asset purchase facility at £375bn. It is unlikely the Bank of England will tighten its monetary policy in advance of the UK referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union due June 23rd. The prospect of a possible BREXIT means that the Pound is likely to remain under pressure and prevent any significant gains in the Pound. GBP/USD currently trades @ 1.4273, GBP/EUR @ 1.2660 (0.79p) and GBP/JPY @ 159.32.

USD Strength

The US Dollar remains supported as US employment data beat expectations with the US employment rate falling from 5.8% to 5.6% the lowest level since June 2008. The Federal Reserve has held interest rates near zero since 2008 but expectations are increasing that the Federal Reserve will start to increase interest rates this year, possibly in the second quarter.
This coupled with the expectation that the European Central Bank will ease monetary policy has forced EUR/USD to its lowest levels since December 2005, hitting a low of 1763.
In the UK the Pound was supported earlier this morning by better than expected manufacturing and trade balance data pushing GBP/EUR to a high of 1.2844 and GBP/USD up to 1.5174 before receding to 1.2820 and 1.5096.

USD & CHF REACT TO FED & SNB

The US Dollar (USD) gained overnight as the Federal Reserve kept rates near zero and sounded more optimistic on the economy whilst maintaining their pledge to be patient on increasing interest rates. The Dollar appreciated against the Euro and the Pound forcing EUR/USD to a low of 1.2266 and GBP/USD to 1.5551.

In Europe, the Swiss Franc (CHF) has depreciated sharply today as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) introduced negative rates to try and stem the rise of the Franc pushing EUR/CHF from 1.2009 to a high of 1.2097 before settling around 1.2045. The US Dollar also gained against the Franc with USD/CHF appreciating from 0.9722 to 0.9846.

USD Strength as Fed ends Quantitative Easing programme

The USD has appreciated following the Federal Reserve’s announcement that its programme of Quantitative Easing (QE) will end. Despite the global economic slowdown, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) were generally more upbeat about the underlying strength of the US economy than in previous months but did state that interest rates would remain on hold at their current lows for a considerable time.

The Dollar has appreciated against the Pound, forcing GBP/USD back below 1.60, hitting a low of 1.5962 so far. Against the Euro and Swiss Franc the US Dollar has also advanced forcing EUR/USD down to 1.2556 and USD/CHF up to 0.9606.

A copy of the FOMC Statement can be found below:

http://federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20141029a.htm

October 29 2014

 

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions improved somewhat further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate. On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources is gradually diminishing. Household spending is rising moderately and business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. Inflation has continued to run below the Committee’s longer-run objective. Market-based measures of inflation compensation have declined somewhat; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators and inflation moving toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. Although inflation in the near term will likely be held down by lower energy prices and other factors, the Committee judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 percent has diminished somewhat since early this year.

The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. Moreover, the Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability. Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. The Committee anticipates, based on its current assessment, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program this month, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored. However, if incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated. Conversely, if progress proves slower than expected, then increases in the target range are likely to occur later than currently anticipated.

When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Stanley Fischer; Richard W. Fisher; Loretta J. Mester; Charles I. Plosser; Jerome H. Powell; and Daniel K. Tarullo. Voting against the action was Narayana Kocherlakota, who believed that, in light of continued sluggishness in the inflation outlook and the recent slide in market-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations, the Committee should commit to keeping the current target range for the federal funds rate at least until the one-to-two-year ahead inflation outlook has returned to 2 percent and should continue the asset purchase program at its current level.

 

 

US Dollar Strengthens on FOMC Minutes

The USD has appreciated overnight after minutes released by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) showed that the US central bank was gradually taking a more hawkish stance as economic conditions (labour market and inflation) begin to normalise to levels last seen before the financial crisis.

The growing prospect of interest rate rises in the US coming sooner than expected have caused the USD to appreciate, forcing GBP/USD back below 1.66, hitting a low of 1.6565 so far and forcing the EUR down against the USD to 1.3242. Against the Yen the USD also appreciated sharply with USD/JPY hitting a high of 103.96.

Judgement Day Wednesday

Tomorrow evening we will see potentially the most crucial Federal Reserve Interest Rate Decision and FOMC statement of this year. Whilst the Federal Reserve is widely expected to maintain interest rates at their current levels, speculation has grown in recent months that they will make their first reduction to their unprecedented bond buying program this month. ‘Tapering’ has been the buzz word for the last month or two ever since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted this summer that the Fed would begin to taper its current $85 billion per month bond buying program before the end of the year.

As the state of the US economy has gradually improved over the course of this year and US unemployment figures have closed in on the Fed’s 7% target (disregarding this month’s miserable Nonfarm payrolls), expectations have grown that September will be the month that tapering will begin. The majority of market commentators had been expecting a gradual reduction to begin this month at around the $10-$15 billion mark, however with the very poor Nonfarm payrolls released earlier this month it remains plausible that the Fed will hold firm and maintain their current purchasing levels for yet another month.

Given the amount of speculation that has been afforded to this meeting we can expect to see a substantial amount of volatility surrounding the greenback in the run up to and following the release of the Federal Reserve’s decision. Should the Fed decide to maintain their current level of stimulus we could see cable advance further on its gains this week with a potential test of 1.60 upwards. A reduction of $10-$15 billion would likely hold GBP/USD steady with limited downside risk for sterling following the consistently positive data that has been released recently concerning the UK economy – enough to even suggest that we have “turned the corner” according to George Osborne. Whilst a reduction of $20 billion upwards would likely lead to significant Dollar strengthening right across the board and could see cable par its recent gains whilst 1.56 levels would likely hold off any reversal.

Tomorrow we will also see another interest rate decision however the outcome of which is considered a lot more certain and its impact far less wide-reaching. The Bank of England will release their interest rate decision and minute’s tomorrow morning at 09:30 UK time. BoE Interest rates and stimulus levels are expected to remain unchanged following the Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s comments to a Parliament Select Committee last week where he indicated that the BoE will maintain historically low interest rates for as long as necessary.

GBP/EUR is currently trading close to the 1.19 level, its highest level since the turn of 2013, with a consistent break above 1.1950 potentially signalling a return to levels above 1.20. However, until the outcome of the German Federal Elections later this month, which now seems a forgone conclusion in favour of Chancellor Angela Merkel, movement in GBP/EUR is likely to be limited. Once the German election has finally been decided we may well see a re-emergence of the Euro-Crisis that has notably been shunned from media attention in the run up to elections. A return to Euro-zone bailouts and a seemingly imminent collapse of the euro will only help push sterling back up to 2012 levels against the common currency.

UK Inflation Falls and Takes Pound With it

As expected this morning UK inflation figures fell, even lower than what the markets had been expecting. UK Consumer Price Index fell to 2.4%, down from 2.8% the previous month and below market expectations of 2.6%. UK Core Consumer price index was also down 40 basis points to 2.0%, recording a figure below market expectations of 2.3%. UK Producer Price Index and UK PPI Core Output were also down at 1.1% and 0.8% respectively.

In what was a rather busy morning in terms of UK data releases, nearly every piece of economic data released concerning the UK economy was negative. As would be expected Sterling fell right across the board following these inflation figures’ release. GBP/EUR fell to a daily low of 1.1777 however remained within the approximate 1.5 cent range that the pair has been trading within for the last month. Similarly Cable fell to a daily low of 1.5163, continuing the pairs decline since early May with a further test of the 1.5157 level now likely and should this break the next area of substantial support being found at 1.5127.

Much earlier this morning we saw the Japanese Yen return to its depreciating ways following Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari’s much more coy response regarding the potential end to the Yen’s slide against the Dollar. This comes after the Yen strengthened yesterday following the economy minister’s comment that suggested further weakening of the Yen may adversely impact upon Japanese people. The bank of Japan’s record monetary stimulus program would now appear to be having the desired effect that Japanese finance ministers had initially hoped it would. Figures released in Tokyo last week showed that Japanese GDP rose to an annualized 3.5%, suggesting that the Bank of Japan’s efforts to end a decade of inflation are actually having a positive impact on the economy. This increase in money supply has had the inevitable, yet “unintentional”, effect of depreciating the Yen, which rose to above USD/JPY 100.00 two weeks ago for the first time in over four years, and has consequently lead to a boost in exports. Data released so far suggests that BoJ Governor Haruhik Kuroda may actually be able to reach his ambitious target of reaching 2.0% inflation in just two years. USD/JPY is currently trading at 102.68 and speculation will now grow as to whether the pair will reach 105.00.

With very little data due out this afternoon, trader’s attention is likely to turn to tomorrow where we will see a number of key releases. In the early hours of tomorrow morning the Bank of Japan is set to make their interest rate decision and monetary policy statement, potentially giving the market an indication of how long their extremely loose monetary policy will continue. Moving back westwards, later tomorrow morning UK BoE minutes will be released, followed by the US FOMC minutes tomorrow evening. As Sir Mervyn King comes to the end of his tenure as governor of the BoE, it is unlikely that we will see any drastic information released in the BoE minutes, however the market will be keen to see if the FOMC minutes or Fed Governor Ben Bernanke’s press conference give any indication as to when a reduction in the Federal Reserve’s bond buying program will be brought to an end.

When Will It End?

Surprisingly there is a reasonable amount of economic data due out today despite it being a bank holiday in many European countries. Inevitably this has turned the focus to the UK and US where we will see PMI figures from both sides of the pond today, as well as an interest rate decision and a potentially revealing FED press conference in the US this evening.

With the recent economic data coming out of the US being somewhat negative, market participants will be keen to see whether the US ISM manufacturing PMI is able to surpass expectations of a fall to 50.9 in April. Following this PMI data, this evening we will see a US interest rate decision and crucially the Fed’s monetary policy statement. Whilst interest rates are widely expected to remain at their current level of 0.25%, spectators will be keen to find out whether the FED gives any indication as to when and how speedily they may begin to reduce their bond buying program. Speculation is growing that the FED could well begin to curtail QE before the end of the year however policy makers will be keen to ensure that any reduction in monetary easing does not result in the weakening of an already fragile economy.

The UK Markit Manufacturing PMI figure was released this morning at 49.8, beating market expectations of 48.5, following which sterling immediately spiked to a daily high of 1.1819 against the euro before dropping back. Similarly cable spiked to a daily high of 1.5590 before returning to its current level of 1.5570. Following these spikes in volatility we may well now see markets trade sideways until this afternoon when the release of US PMI figures may induce further market activity.

Please find a summary of this week’s economic calendar below:

01.05.13
02:00 Chinese NBS Manufacturing PMI
07:00 UK Nationwide Housing Prices
09:28 UK Markit Manufacturing PMI
15:00 US Construction Spending
15:00 US ISM Manufacturing PMI
15:00 US ISM Prices Paid
19:00 US Fed Interest Rate Decision
19:00 US Fed’s Monetary Policy Statement and press conference

02.05.13
02:45 Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI
08:48 French Markit Manufacturing PMI
08:53 German Markit Manufacturing PMI
08:58 Euro Zone Markit Manufacturing PMI
09:30 UK PMI Construction
12:45 ECB Interest Rate Decision
13:30 ECB Monetary policy statement and press conference
13:30 US Initial Jobless Claims
13:30 US Trade Balance

03.05.13
02:00 Chinese Non-manufacturing PMI
09:28 UK Markit Services PMI
10:00 EU Producer Price Index
13:30 US Nonfarm Payrolls
13:30 US Unemployment Rate

Bungee Jumping Cable

Bungee Jumping Cable

Cable dropped off a cliff last week. Whilst it had climbed
in the week leading up to the New Year as the US edged ever closer to the fiscal cliff, it was actually the FOMC
minutes, released last week that hinted of a potential reduction in monetary
easing and interest rate rise, which pushed the pair over the edge. As the
bungee cord held late last week, today we will see whether the Pound can
actually catapult itself back up towards the 16 month highs that the pair had
experienced ‘pre-jump’.

With the Christmas period now over and the fiscal cliff
disaster averted, or at least slightly postponed, economic data releases should
now begin to take on more of a key role in influencing market movements this
week. With little data due out of the US, key figures from Europe and notably
China could add to market volatility this week. The Bank of England will make
an interest rate decision on Thursday and whilst rates are expected to remain
at their current levels, any increase would substantially strengthen the Pound
and could help Cable rebound after paring its gains last week following the
FOMC minutes. Furthermore Chinas dominance in the global economy means that any
positive data released from the country this week would also help strengthen
Cable as confidence around the world would be increased, stocks would
inevitably be buoyed and demand for safe havens such as the Greenback and Yen
would fall.

Please find
a summary of this week’s economic calendar below:

 

07.01.13

08:00 UK
Halifax House Prices

09:30 EU
Sentix Investor Confidence

10:00 EU
Producer Price Index

 

08.01.13

07:00 German
Trade Balance

10:00 EU
Consumer Confidence

10:00 EU
Retail Sales

10:00 EU
Unemployment Rate

11:00 German
Factory Orders

20:00 US
Consumer Credit Change

 

09.01.13

Chinese
Industrial Production

Chinese
Retail Sales

09:30 UK
Goods Trade Balance

10:00 EU GDP
Q4

11:00 German
Industrial Production

 

10.01.13

Chinese
Trade Balance

12:00 UK BoE
Interest Rate Decision

12:00 UK BoE
Asset Purchase Facility

13:30 ECB
Monetary Policy Statement

 

11.01.13

01:30
Chinese Consumer Price Index

09:30 UK
Manufacturing Production

09:30 UK
Industrial Production

13:30 US
Trade Balance

13:30 US
Import Price

15:00 UK
NIESR GDP Estimate

19:00 US
Monthly Budget Statement

 

Mark Webster

Euro woes

The Euro has continued to depreciate as markets become increasingly unconvinced with the outcome of last week’s EU summit. European bond auctions will be monitored as Germany and Italy auction €5b of 2 year bonds and €5b respectively.

Pressure was also increased on the Euro following last night’s Federal Reserve decision to hold interest rates and withhold additional stimulus at this time. The resulting falls in equity markets increasing safe heaven flows.

The Euro has fallen to its lowest level against the US Dollar since January, currently trading at 1.3040 on the interbank market. The Pound is pushing towards 1.19 against the Euro, currently at 1.1890, the highest level since February. The Pound is currently trading between 1.54 and 1.55 against the US Dollar.

The following rates are based on the current interbank market and are shown for indicative purposes only. Please do not hesitate to contact the dealing team on 01695 581 669 or info@currencymatters.co.uk for a live quote.

14/12/11 09:45