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Dollar 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 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 benefited from U.S. rate-hike expectations in recent weeks.

And the currency started to nudge higher again as the December U.S. consumer price index (CPI), due out at 1330 GMT, loomed.

The dollar index was last trading at 95.643, steady on the day above the 95.533 low hit during the Asian session, the lowest since Nov. 18.

Headline U.S. CPI is forecast at a red-hot 7% on a year-on-year basis, which would be the highest annual CPI number since 1982.

A related graphic: US CPI expected to hit 7%: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/zjpqknabypx/USCPI1201.PNG

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 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.

April LaRusse, head of fixed income investment specialists at Insight Investment, noted that recent comments from businesses suggested they faced higher price pressures from raw materials and wages, for instance.

"So, it's unlikely we get an undershoot in the inflation data... and if it's as expected, there could be relief that it wasn't higher," she said.

The dollar was just 0.1% firmer at 115.40 yen, while the euro was steady at around $1.1364. 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.

But the greenback was stuck at two-month lows against the Canadian dollar at 1.25345.

And sterling was steady having risen 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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19-01-2022 15:23:52 (UTC+7)

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 EUR/USD1.1351↑ Buy
 GBP/USD1.3624↑ Sell
 USD/JPY114.28Neutral
 AUD/USD0.7225↑ Sell
 USD/CAD1.2490Neutral
 EUR/JPY129.71↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF1.0392Buy
 Gold1,842.85Neutral
 Silver24.242↑ Buy
 Copper4.4577Neutral
 Crude Oil WTI85.63↑ Buy
 Brent Oil88.17Sell
 Natural Gas4.021↑ Sell
 US Coffee C244.00↑ Sell
 Euro Stoxx 504,268.28↑ Buy
 S&P 5004,570.60↑ Sell
 DAX15,809.72↑ Buy
 FTSE 1007,589.66↑ Buy
 Hang Seng24,127.85↑ Buy
 Small Cap 20002,074.30↑ Sell
 IBEX 358,774.90↑ Sell
 BASF67.800Buy
 Bayer52.12↑ Sell
 Allianz223.80Buy
 Adidas253.60↑ Sell
 Lufthansa6.820↑ Sell
 Siemens AG144.34↑ Buy
 Deutsche Bank AG11.784Buy
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# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,115/ 6,155
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