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Dollar edges off lows as U.S. inflation test looms

By Dhara Ranasinghe LONDON (Reuters) -The dollar steadied above almost two-month lows against its major peers on Wednesday, ahead of data expected to show a fresh surge in U.S...
Dollar edges off lows as U.S. inflation test looms © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Four thousand U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker counting currency at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

By Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON (Reuters) -The dollar steadied above almost two-month lows against its major peers on Wednesday, ahead of data expected to show a fresh surge in U.S inflation that could seal the case for an early rise in interest rates.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday gave no clear indication that the Fed was in a rush to speed up plans for tightening monetary policy, putting some downward pressure on the greenback which has been benefiting from U.S. rate-hike expectations in recent weeks.

And the currency started to nudge higher as the London trading session got underway and the release of the December U.S. consumer price index (CPI) loomed.

The dollar index was last trading at 95.611, steady on the day. It had dipped to 95.533 in the Asian session, the lowest since Nov. 18.

Headline U.S. CPI, released at 1330 GMT, is seen coming in at a red-hot 7% on a year-on-year basis, which would be the highest annual CPI number since 1982.

ING currency strategist Francesco Pesole said since an inflation print above 7% is expected by markets, the immediate reaction in currency markets should be contained.

"At the same time, it should allow consolidation for a floor below the dollar in the near term – further cementing expectations for three Fed hikes and leaving the door open to speculate for four in 2022," Pesole said.

"We think this is a reason for markets to keep buying the dips in the dollar for the time being."

In a testimony at his renomination hearing on Tuesday, Fed chief Powell said the U.S. economy was ready for higher interest rates and a run-off of its asset holdings - dubbed quantitative tightening (QT) - to combat inflation.

But he said policymakers were still debating approaches to reducing the Fed's balance sheet, and that it could sometimes take two, three or four meetings for them to make such decisions.

Money markets currently price about 85% odds of a rates lift-off by March, and a total of at least three quarter-point hikes by year-end.

"If inflation comes in line with expectations at 7.0% or proves softer than expected, yesterday’s dollar sell-off will gather momentum," said Lee Hardman, a currency strategist at MUFG in London.

The dollar was just 0.1% firmer at 115.44 yen, while the euro was steady at around $1.1355. A rise above $1.1387 would take the single currency to its highest since mid-November.

The Australian dollar, often considered a liquid proxy for risk appetite, pulled back from almost one-week highs at $0.72230 as the dollar regained its footing.

The dollar also pulled back from fresh two-months lows against the Canadian dollar at 1.25460.

Elsewhere, sterling rose to $1.3645 for the first time since Nov. 4, bolstered by a view that the worst of the Omicron COVID surge maybe be passing in Britain - helping pave the way for another near-term rise in UK interest rates.

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26-01-2022 10:24:43 (UTC+7)

EUR/USD

1.1278

-0.0021 (-0.19%)

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EUR/USD

1.1278

-0.0021 (-0.19%)

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GBP/USD

1.3496

0.0000 (0.00%)

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USD/JPY

114.35

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AUD/USD

0.7156

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USD/CAD

1.2634

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EUR/JPY

128.96

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US Coffee C Futures

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Euro Stoxx 50

4,166.55

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S&P 500

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DAX

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US Small Cap 2000

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IBEX 35

8,642.51

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Bayer AG NA

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Adidas AG

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 EUR/USD1.1278↑ Sell
 GBP/USD1.3496Neutral
 USD/JPY114.35Neutral
 AUD/USD0.7156↑ Sell
 USD/CAD1.2634Neutral
 EUR/JPY128.96↑ Sell
 EUR/CHF1.0385↑ Sell
 Gold1,836.95↑ Sell
 Silver23.867Sell
 Copper4.4893↑ Sell
 Crude Oil WTI87.14↑ Buy
 Brent Oil88.69↑ Buy
 Natural Gas4.114↑ Sell
 US Coffee C238.85↑ Sell
 Euro Stoxx 504,166.55↑ Sell
 S&P 5004,418.30↑ Sell
 DAX15,456.20↑ Sell
 FTSE 1007,491.23↑ Sell
 Hang Seng24,289.90↑ Buy
 Small Cap 20002,029.30Sell
 IBEX 358,642.51↑ Sell
 BASF67.460↑ Sell
 Bayer51.65Sell
 Allianz224.88Neutral
 Adidas244.71↑ Sell
 Lufthansa7.035↑ Buy
 Siemens AG141.48↑ Sell
 Deutsche Bank AG11.412↑ Sell
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,190/ 6,240
(-5/ -5) # 1,175
SJC HCM6,180/ 6,245
(-10/ -10) # 1,179
SJC Hanoi6,180/ 6,247
(-10/ -10) # 1,181
SJC Danang6,180/ 6,247
(-10/ -10) # 1,181
SJC Nhatrang6,180/ 6,247
(-10/ -10) # 1,181
SJC Cantho6,180/ 6,247
(-10/ -10) # 1,181
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