Dollar tumbles from 20-year high as US inflation eases


The dollar has tumbled previously fortnight from a 20-year high as signs of inflation easing within the US fuel speculation that the Federal Reserve will soon decelerate its rate rises.

The greenback has fallen greater than 4 per cent against a basket of six peers thus far in November, leaving it heading in the right direction for the most important monthly fall since September 2010, in line with Refinitiv data. It continues to be up about 11 per cent for the 12 months to this point.

This month’s fall comes as investors scrutinise early indications that US inflation may finally be easing, potentially paving the best way for the Fed to scale back the speed at which it has been boosting borrowing costs. Some data, equivalent to those on the housing and manufacturing sectors, have also suggested the broader economy is facing rising headwinds, one other deterrent to Fed monetary tightening.

“Every part is pointing to disinflation within the US and with that we are going to see a slowdown within the US economy in the primary quarter of next 12 months . . . That forms the premise for the weaker dollar story,” said Thierry Wizman, a strategist at Macquarie.

The dollar’s drop has alleviated a number of the pressure on a worldwide economy that was creaking under the strain of a powerful dollar, which helps to drive up inflation in smaller economies and adds to debt sustainability problems for countries and firms — particularly in emerging markets — which have borrowed heavily within the US currency.

The euro has risen to almost $1.04 after sinking below 96 cents in September, and the UK pound’s recovery from September’s all-time low gained further momentum. The yen has rebounded somewhat from a slide to a 32-year low against the dollar that had prompted the Japanese government to spend billions propping up its currency.

Still, much depends upon how the Fed reacts to data showing US consumer and producer prices grew at a slower annual rate in October than September — and whether that trend continues. On the central bank’s November meeting, chair Jay Powell didn’t explicitly signal a fifth consecutive 0.75 percentage point increase, which traders understood as an indication of the Fed’s openness to a half percentage point rise as soon as next month.

Indications of easing inflation have also upended wildly popular wagers in currency markets on a stronger dollar.

“We expect the US dollar’s powerful climb over the past 12 months to reverse in 2023 because the Fed’s climbing cycle involves an end,” HSBC foreign exchange strategists wrote in note to clients this week. “It has peaked.”

In recent weeks, traders have trimmed their bets on a stronger dollar to the bottom level in a 12 months, in line with figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which offer a snapshot of how speculative investors equivalent to hedge funds are positioned in currency markets.

The greenback’s historic ascent earlier this 12 months got here as a wave of rapid price increases swept the globe, prompting big central banks — with the notable exception of the Bank of Japan — to rapidly tighten monetary policy. But rate rises elsewhere were largely unable to maintain pace with the Fed, which because of the relatively robust US economy was capable of lift borrowing costs faster than peers in other developed economies, bolstering the appeal of the dollar.

At the identical time, fears of a worldwide recession and the financial market volatility unleashed by rapid monetary tightening also favoured the US currency, which as the final word secure harbour of the worldwide economic system tends to rise in times of stress.

Each those tailwinds are actually set to fade, in line with HSBC, which argued that “gravity should take hold” for the dollar as the usually chaotic sell-off in global bond markets, caused partially by central bank rate rises, calms.

Despite the about-turn in markets, a number of hawkish speeches from Fed officials in recent days have tempered bets that the Fed is slowing down.

The dip “looks like an overreaction given Fed speakers thus far have made it clear the job will not be done”, said Athanasios Vamvakidis, head of G10 foreign exchange strategy at Bank of America.

While the dollar may not surpass the 20-year high it hit in late September, Vamvakidis warned that inflation remained high. “We are usually not out of the woods yet . . . Even when inflation has peaked it’s going to be sticky and volatile on the best way down.”

With traders firmly focused on month-by-month US inflation figures, a slight upside surprise could easily cause your complete global currency market to skew back in the opposite direction, he added.

That sentiment was evident in remarks by St Louis Fed president James Bullard on Thursday, who said that rates would should be raised to a minimum of 5 per cent with a purpose to tame inflation.

Positions within the futures market currently reflect that investors see rates of interest peaking at 5 per cent in May.

“It’s premature to call a peak within the dollar, since the Fed expects further rate hikes,” said Joe Manimbo, an analyst at Convera.

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