Dollar wobbles ahead of inflation data; cryptos crumble

By Rae Wee

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar lost some of its overnight gains ahead of U.S. inflation data due later on Thursday, while cryptocurrencies stayed under pressure as crypto exchange Binance abandoned a bailout bid for its ailing smaller rival FTX.

The greenback surged overnight against its peers but pared some of those gains in Asia trade, with the Japanese yen inching closer toward its roughly two-week high hit in the previous session. The yen last bought 146.11 per dollar.

The euro staved off a break below parity to last stand 0.25% higher at $1.00375. Sterling gained 0.46% to $1.1412, making a partial recovery from a 1.6% slide overnight.

All eyes are now on U.S. inflation figures due later on Thursday, with economists polled by Reuters expecting the headline consumer price index to show an 8% year-on-year rise in October.

“I think the biggest risk going into today’s U.S. CPI release is for the markets to be over-reading it. There is potential for a softer print, no doubt, but the Fed has already communicated a downshift in its rate hike trajectory without exiting its hawkish bent,” said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Markets.

“I doubt there is room for them to be more dovish than that even if inflation slows, given that we are still very far from that 2% target.”

The dollar has lost some steam over the past few weeks on hopes that the Fed could begin making smaller interest rate hikes from as soon as December.

Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar index was 0.14% lower at 110.19, after rising nearly 0.8% overnight.

Latest results from the U.S. midterm elections showed that Republicans were edging closer to securing a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, while control of the Senate hung in the balance, after Democrats performed well enough to stop a Republican “red wave”.

Elsewhere, the Aussie edged 0.2% lower to $0.6418 while the kiwi was down 0.11% at $0.5877. Both had fallen more than 1% overnight.

Brewing troubles in the crypto world also hurt risk sentiment, after crypto exchange giant Binance on Wednesday abandoned a stunning bailout deal of its rival FTX, leaving FTX Chief Executive Officer Sam Bankman-Fried scrambling to explore all options for his firm.

Just a day earlier, Binance had signed a nonbinding agreement to buy FTX’s non-U.S. unit to help cover a “liquidity crunch”.

“I do think there’s been a bit of contagion from what’s been going on in crypto to the broader markets … It does seem to be having something of an unsettling effect,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY).

 

FTX’s native token, FTT, was last 50% higher at $2.287, though its month-to-date loss remains more than 90%.

Bitcoin rose 5% to $16,704, after plunging below $16,000 for the first time since late 2020 in the previous session.