Dollar Edges Lower; U.S. CPI to Inform Hike Expectations

By Peter Nurse – The U.S. dollar edged lower in early European trade Monday, with activity limited ahead of the release of key U.S. consumer inflation data as well as a major European Central Bank meeting.

At 3 AM ET (0700 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.1% lower at 102.025.

The index had gained around 0.5% last week after Friday’s U.S. jobs report showed that employers added 390,000 jobs in May, more than expected, which added to expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will remain forceful in tackling inflation.

Attention this week will concentrate on the U.S. consumer price index for May, which is due for release on Friday.

A high inflation reading would add to expectations of aggressive tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and likely put an end to last month’s speculation that the Fed will take a break from raising interest rates at its September meeting.

That said, core inflation, which excludes the volatile energy and fuel prices and is the Fed’s preferred gauge, is expected to come in at 5.9% year over year, a drop from 6.2% the previous month. That would mark a third month of consecutive declines and make the case that core inflation may have peaked.

Also of note this week is Thursday’s meeting by the European Central Bank, which is expected to prepare the ground for an interest rate hike at its July meeting, especially after recent data showed Eurozone consumer inflation accelerated in May to hit a new record high of 8.1%.

“The pressure for the ECB to act has increased considerably, but the central bank’s earlier guidance rules out hiking rates at the meeting [this week],” said analysts at Nordea, in a note. “Along with updated inflation forecasts, the ECB’s signals will all but guarantee a rate hike in July.”

EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.0726, GBP/USD rose 0.3% to 1.2528, while USD/JPY fell 0.2% to 130.54, but remains not far from last month’s 20-year peak of 131.34.

The risk-sensitive AUD/USD edged lower to 0.7204 ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia, which is expected to result in a 25 basis point rate hike as the central bank tightens policy to combat inflation.

USD/CNY fell 0.1% to 6.6541 after China’s Caixin services purchasing managers’ index rose to 41.4 in May from 36.2 in April, suggesting a slow recovery for the second-largest economy in the world as the country eases its COVID-19 curbs in cities such as Shanghai.