Dollar high as investors brace for Fed rate hikes

Published On: June 14, 2022Categories: Trading1.9 min read

Markets have scrambled to bet on rapid-fire hikes in the wake of the unexpectedly hot inflation reading on Friday

The U.S. dollar stood by a fresh 20-year peak on Tuesday and just about everything else nursed losses as investors braced for aggressive Federal Reserve rate hikes and a possible recession.

Markets have scrambled to bet on rapid-fire hikes in the wake of the unexpectedly hot inflation reading on Friday. Consecutive 75 basis point rate rises in June and July are close to fully priced, sending shockwaves across asset classes.

The dollar has gained with yields and as investors seek shelter from the storm. The dollar index scaled a two-decade peak of 105.29 on Monday and held at that level in Asia. It has hit one-month highs on the euro, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Swiss franc, and Canadian dollar and it made a fresh one-month top of $1.0397 per euro on Tuesday.

Sterling sat by a two-year low at $1.2163 as the Fed is seen outpacing the Bank of England, which is expected to deliver a 25 bp hike on Thursday. Even the Norwegian crown, which has been supported by firm oil prices and a central bank that began hiking last year, touched a two-year low of 9.9295 per dollar.

The dollar seems to be the stagflation hedge of choice, said Bank of Singapore strategist Moh Siong Sim. The market is starting to turn a lot more fearful, he said. On the inflation front, things do not look good and the Fed needs to respond.

The Aussie steadied at $0.6945 through the Asia session, stabilizing with S&P 500 futures, but that is still close to a test of its May trough at $0.6829 and analysts remained cautious and trade skittish. Nerves about official intervention also gave brief respite to the yen, but it was soon on the back foot again after the Bank of Japan expanded a round of bond purchases to knock the 10-year government bond yield back to its 0.25% cap.

It last traded at 134.66 per dollar after hitting a 24-year low of 135.22 on Monday.

Given Wednesday may see the Fed go 75bps and flag more, while the BOJ on Friday will only flag more bond buying, JPY is not going to stay at these levels for long. It’s going to get much, much worse, said Rabobank strategist Michael Every.

The Fed concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday and CME’s FedWatch tool shows markets priced for a 93% chance of a 75 basis point hike, which would be the biggest since 1994.

About the Author: Jonathan Adams

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