Thursday, 18 April 2024

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Dollar takes a breather ahead of US jobs data By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

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By Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar was pinned beneath recent peaks on Thursday with traders taking remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as reassuring on the likelihood of interest rate cuts this year while waiting for the latest U.S. labour market readout.

An unexpected slowdown in U.S. services growth also supported cut expectations and weighed on the dollar, though for the year so far it remains the best-performing G10 currency as those expectations are far more modest than three months ago.

The yen, which has been frozen lately by the risk of official intervention, hardly enjoyed much relief either, and at 151.56 was more or less where it has been for three weeks.

The euro, up 0.6% overnight, was back to the middle of a range it has kept for a year at $1.0837. European inflation came in softer-than-expected on Wednesday, reinforcing expectations for a European rate cut in June.

Jerome Powell made balanced remarks noting policymakers will be guided by economic data. Traders focused on his view that recent figures had not changed his broad outlook, and his reminder that “most FOMC participants see it as likely to be appropriate to begin lowering the policy rate at some point this year.”

“The speech broadly affirmed the Fed is on track to cut rates this year, with data determining the timing. We think by July, the (Fed) will likely have sufficient confidence to begin cutting rates,” said analysts at ANZ.

Futures pricing was broadly steady and implied markets see about a 60% probability of a Fed cut in June.

The Australian dollar broke above its 200-day moving average as the U.S. dollar dipped overnight and was steady at $0.6568 on Thursday.

The is at a five-month high on the New Zealand dollar with traders expecting New Zealand rate cuts beginning in August but Australian rates on hold until November. [AUD/]

The New Zealand dollar rose 0.7% on the greenback overnight to regain a foothold above $0.60. It was last trading at $0.6013. Sterling bought $1.2645 – also in the middle of a range it has kept since December. [GBP/]

Chinese markets were closed for a holiday.

The , up 2.8% this year as market expectations for more than 160 basis points of U.S. rate cuts have been sliced in half, was last at 104.22. It made a four-and-a-half-month high of 105.10 on Tuesday.

U.S. Treasury yields, which shot up earlier in the week, retreated slightly overnight. [US/]

PMI readings are due in Europe later on Thursday, as is the readout from…

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