Fed Rate Speculation Warms, Doesn’t Revive Dollar

Fed Rate Speculation Warms, Doesn’t Revive Dollar

13 January 2017, 08:54
Mohammad Soubra

Fed Rate Speculation Warms, Doesn’t Revive Dollar

 Talking Points:

  • A round of Fed presidents nudged the Dollar, Treasury yields and implied Fed Fund rates higher Thursday
  • President-elect Trump's lack of clarity on US fiscal stimulus, tax cuts and trade policy still hangs over the market
  • US earnings, producer inflation and consumer sentiment are due Friday; but is it enough to spur the USD or S&P 500?



The Dollar is still struggling to find its footing following the slide after the President-elect's press conference failed to deliver the growth and interest rate support the past month's speculative charge priced in. Initially extending its slide to a month-low, the ICE's Dollar Index posted a hefty bounce from Thursday lows with the help of the collective rhetoric from four Fed presidents. Lockhart, Harker and Evans stuck to the party line of optimism and forecasts for two to three 25 basis point rate hikes through the coming year. In contrast, former hawkish champion Bullard struck a tone of skepticism and maintained his call for only one hike this year. While his protest forecast is well known, the particulars in the import inflation - easing price pressure excluding energy as the currency rose - kept the Greenback from a true recovery.


With the lack of commitment towards either direction, the majors are left with unfulfilled technical potential.EUR/USD's move above 1.0650 to break a rough inverse head-and-shoulders pattern was stonewalled. With perhaps the most provocative chart among its peers,USD/CADinitially charged its long-term trendline and channel break, but a bearish trend was once again cut down before momentum could establish itself.USD/JPYremains one of the most pressing of the majors with a technical view that shows a progressive turn of trend, but a distinct lack of motivation to make secure a high conviction move. A slide in Fed rate expectations could certainly provoke this pair lower, but risk aversion is where the true untapped potential lies. However, few risk metrics have started to make a real move lower - certainly not theS&P 500- and there is limited opportunity to stoke the fire this close to the weekend.

We will have another shot at generating some volatility before the weekend drains the markets. Friday's docket has event risk from the Asian to European to US session. However, it is the closing period that will offer the most concentrated event risk. US 4Q earnings season will start with reports from banks JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. A significant enough surprise from this round could certainly stir speculative conviction - but GAAP account often prevents many surprises on the corporate earnings front. The producer inflation figure is noteworthy for Fed rate watchers, but it is the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey that holds the real opportunity. As a cue for spending, growth and inflation; this can cue multiple key themes. But potential does not imply probability. With high level event risk next week to look forward to - full swing 4Q earnings, the US Presidential inauguration, the WFC in Davos, Chinese GDP and ECB rate decision among other updates - it will be difficult to overcome the comfortable slide into a quiet week settlement.

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