USD Performance Hinges on Fed Policy and Debt Ceiling Discussions
On Monday, the Dollar edged against the Yen, hovering just under a six-month high. This comes as investors eagerly await updates on the potential continuance of the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes. Additionally, the focus is on whether an agreement to raise the U.S. debt ceiling will be reached in Congress.
For the past two weeks, the greenback has shown resilience, buoyed by stronger-than-predicted economic reports and hawkish sentiments from Fed officials indicating the potential for more interest rate hikes. Marc Chandler, the Chief Market Strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, acknowledged the Dollar's impressive performance in the face of rising U.S. interest rates.
Fed's Remarks Hint at Possible Interest Rate Pause
However, comments from Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chair, suggesting that stricter credit conditions could result in fewer rate hikes have halted the Dollar's climb. According to Chandler, this constitutes the strongest case for a pause in rate hikes and anticipates some consolidation as investors wait for further developments.
Fed Officials Keep Market on Toes
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari made noteworthy comments that could influence the currency's performance. Bullard hinted at raising the benchmark interest rate by another half-point. At the same time, Kashkari mentioned the difficulty of his upcoming decision between raising interest rates or pausing the bank's tightening cycle.
Currency Movements: A Snapshot
The Dollar was last reported to be up by 0.36% at 138.43 Yen, closely following its six-month peak of 138.75 last Thursday. Meanwhile, the euro increased by 0.04% to $1.0810, recovering from its seven-week low of $1.0760 on Friday.
The Dollar index, a measure of the greenback against six other major currencies, was 0.19% higher at 103.22, slightly below last week's high of 103.63, which was last witnessed on March 20.
The Debt Ceiling Debate: A Crucial Factor
Investors remain concerned about negotiations to increase the U.S. debt limit. Despite being considered unlikely, the possibility of default threatens risk sentiment. To address this, U.S. President Joe Biden and House of Representatives Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy are set to discuss the debt ceiling issue.
Other Major Currencies: Sterling, Aussie, and Yuan
The British sterling slipped by 0.14% to $1.2428 after hitting a three-week low of $1.2392 on Thursday. The Australian Dollar fell 0.12% to $0.6644. The Chinese yuan fell back to 7.0473 per Dollar in offshore trading, nearing Friday's six-month low of 7.0750. This currency's performance has been shaky due to signs that China's post-COVID-19 recovery may be tapering off. Still, it was relieved when the People's Bank of China committed to reducing major exchange rate fluctuations.