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  • richard evans

Fed continues to look for three rate cuts this year, BoE up next

Good morning

 

US data releases will be one hour earlier at 12.30 or 14.00 london time due to the US clock changes that took place last weekend. 

 

In addition, FX option expiries will be 14.00 london time, not the usual 15.00 london time.

 

This will be until Sunday 31st when we change our clocks in the UK.

 

 

It was a lacklustre day in the currency world yesterday, GBPUSD did trade down to 1.2685 through the morning and then worked its way back up to 1.2720 through the afternoon, while EURUSD traded down to 1.0840 and then up to 1.0860 ahead of the FOMC rate announcement.  With USDJPY holding around 151.50, GBPJPY fell in line with GBPUSD and then pushed back towards the highs around 192.80 in the afternoon. 

 

As the Fed made their release, the US dollar weakened, not dramatically, but just enough to highlight the dovish tone of the dot plot.  While we have been talking about higher rates for longer, the dot plot actually showed that the median rate path for 2024 remains unchanged with a total of 75bps of cuts expected, although some members who back in December were looking for lower rates have now revised their forecasts to nearer the median.  There had been a thought this would signal just two cuts this year.

 

The 2025 forecast suggests one less rate cut compared to forecasts made in December, seeing rates at around 3.9% from a previous 3.6%.  Mind you the range of the 2025 forecast was 2.6% to 5.4%, that’s pretty wide, highlighting the wide difference in opinions from Fed officials and also showing why many people dispute the worth of the dot plot.  Even 2024 had a 1% range from 4.4% to 5.4%.  Overall though the feeling is that inflation is heading lower but it won’t be a smooth journey.  GBPUSD has reached a high of 1.2800, EURUSD 1.0940, both are a little off those peaks right now. 

 

Strong Aussie jobs data overnight pushed AUD higher.  AUDUSD had been at 0.6530 pre-FOMC, the combination of the weaker US dollar and the employment numbers saw the pair reach a high of 0.6630, while AUDNZD hit 1.0870.  GBPAUD had been looking at the 1.9500 level but AUD strength pushed that back to 1.9280 at one point, now 1.9310. 

 

BoJ raised rates earlier in the week and now the market is already looking at the next rate rise.  October seems to be the favoured time for now, giving them six months or so of data between now and then to assess how the move away from negative rates has affected the economy, although there are some who see a rise of 25bps as early as July.  USDJPY unaffected by these comments, although at 151.15 it is a touch lower against USD after the dollar’s post-FOMC weakness.  GBPJPY is now 193.05 having briefly hit a high of 193.50.

 

We do have the Turkish central bank making a rate announcement today.  There is a feeling they will keep rates on hold at a whopping 45% although after some higher inflation there the risk must be to the upside.

 

We will then have UK’s BoE rate announcement to look forward to.  Could be something of a non-event given the overriding consensus that they’ll leave rates and forward guidance unchanged.  The key again will be the voting split.  Last time we had two members looking for a rate rise, I think at least one of those will switch to unchanged.  We also had one looking for a rate cut last time, likely to stay the same.  Perhaps a slight dovish tilt but with no rate cut expected until at least June I have a feeling this one could come and go without a huge fuss. 

 

Before the BoE we do have PMI numbers from EU and UK which are certainly capable of having an impact on the currency markets, while UK retail sales early tomorrow morning could also affect things if they are far off expectations.  They are not expected to be good, far from it, it is really a question of how bad they are.  Yesterday UK PM Sunak said the economy will bounce back in 2024.  I’m not sure what he means by ‘bounce’, we’re starting from a very low level, so anything positive will look good in percentage terms. 

 

As I type, SNB have cut rates 25bps to 1.5% in a move that took the market by surprise.  EURCHF jumped from 0.9680 to 0.9770 on the announcement, levels not seen since July last year.  We’ll hear from the SNB head, Jordan, this morning.

 

It’s a busy calendar today, and tomorrow looks pretty full as well, with those UK retail sales, German IFO and Feds Powell speaking.  Pleased I got the admin done earlier in the week!

 

-  09.00 EU manufacturing, services PMI

-  09.00 ECB economic bulletin

-  09.00 SNBs Jordan speaks

-  09.30 UK S&P manufacturing, services PMI

-  11.00 CBRT rate announcement

-  12.00 BoE rate announcement

-  12.30 US Philly fed survey, initial jobless claims

-  13.45 US S&P manufacturing, services PMI

-  14.00 US existing home sales

-  16.00 Feds Barr speaks

-  21.45 NZ trade balance

-  23.30 Japan CPI

-  00.01 UK GfK consumer confidence

-  00.30 AUS financial stability review

-  07.00 UK retail sales

 

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