Dollar wavers as Powell speech, ECB loom
The dollar fell from near a two-decade high, as investors pondered the path of global monetary policy ahead of a European Central Bank rate decision and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the day.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the currency against six major peers, dipped 0.3% to 109.43, edging back toward Wednesday’s peak at 110.79, a level not seen since June 2002.
The greenback was flat against the yen at 143.61, after reaching a 24-year high of 144.99 in the previous session.
The euro gained 0.2% to $1.0015, after plumbing a 20-year low of $0.9864 earlier in the week.
The ECB is widely expected to also raise rates by 75 basis points (bps) later on Thursday (1215 GMT) to fight runaway inflation, although Europe’s energy crisis has kept the euro under pressure.
Powell will participate in a discussion at a Cato Institute conference, with Fed officials soon to enter into a blackout period prior to the U.S. central bank’s Sept. 20-21 meeting.
Recent rhetoric has continued to be hawkish overall, with Boston Fed President Susan Collins saying overnight that bringing inflation back down to 2% is the Fed’s “Job One,” while Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard commented that tight monetary policy will continue “for as long as it takes to get inflation down.”
Money markets lay 79% odds that the Fed will hike by another 75 basis points at this month’s meeting, which would increase the fed funds rate to 3.0% to 3.25%.
“Dollar domination may have one last major rally in it before the market can start placing some long-term bets with some of the European currencies,” now that “the global energy crisis, a widening interest rate differential, and fears of a severe European recession are close to getting fully priced in,” Edward Moya, a senior markets analyst at OANDA, wrote in a note.
“The upcoming ECB rate decision will be a make-or-break moment in FX that will either trigger a bounce towards parity or provide a clear passage towards 0.9750.”