ADP Non-Farm Employment and Quarterly Final GDP data released on Wednesday were rather negative for the US economy, adding more pressure to the dollar. US treasury yields also declined on Wednesday, with the 10-year treasury yields falling to approximately 2.3%, from a two-year high of 2.5% the day before.
In the past week, the dollar had gained strength, boosted by hawkish Fed rhetoric. In a recent speech, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted that the Fed may perform a steeper rate hike in the future, going above the expected 25 base points. Other Fed members have similarly shown signs of encouraging a more hawkish fiscal policy, increasing the odds of a 50 bp rate hike at the Central Bank’s next meeting in May. Markets are anticipating total rate hikes of 175 base points within the year to tackle soaring inflation rates.
The dollar had dropped in the wake of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting in March, in which the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 base points, bringing its interest rate to 0.50%. The US Central bank is attempting to bring down inflation that has been rising at the fastest rate in 40 years. The 25-base point rate hike though was considered conservative and had already been priced in by markets. Recent statements by FOMC members though show a shift towards a more aggressively hawkish policy.
Monthly Core PCE Price Index, Unemployment Claims, Annual Challenger Job Cuts, and Chicago PMI are scheduled to be released on Thursday for the dollar and may cause some volatility in the currency. In addition, FOMC Member Williams is due to deliver a speech, which may affect the currency, as Fed rhetoric in the past few days was one of the main factors that have been driving the dollar up.
The EUR/USD rate climbed above 1.116 on Wednesday, breaking through the 1.113 level resistance, as peace talks sparked hopes of a resolution of the crisis in Ukraine. The safe-haven dollar retreated, while the Euro regained some of its lost ground. If the currency pair goes up, it may encounter resistance at 1.148, while if it declines, support may be found at the 1.080 level.
On Wednesday, consumer sentiment and inflation data released for the Eurozone were mostly negative for the EU economy, putting pressure on the Euro. Reports of de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine reduced the appeal of safe-haven currencies and boosted riskier assets.
In addition, ECB President Lagarde delivered a speech at an event hosted by the Bank of Cyprus on Wednesday. Lagarde stated in her speech that the growth of the Eurozone economy has been stalled by the war in Ukraine and that inflation will likely rise even further. Lagarde has also stressed that the ECB needs to remain flexible and may alter its monetary policy in response to unforeseen inflationary and economic pressures arising from the war in Ukraine, but stated that the ECB will move gradually towards normalizing its fiscal policy. The ECB is trying to avert a dangerous economic effect known as stagflation, the mix of economic stagnation and high inflation rates.
The ECB has been pursuing a more cautious fiscal policy than other major Central Banks, although it has recently turned towards a more hawkish direction. The ECB has announced its decision to wind down its bond-purchasing program sooner than expected, placing the end of the bond-buying program in the third quarter of 2022, if financial conditions in the Eurozone allow it.
In addition, the European Central Bank has announced that it does not plan to raise its benchmark interest rate before the end of its bond-buying program in the third quarter of 2022. Many market analysts predict that the ECB will raise its interest rate by at least 30 base points in Q4 of 2022 and some predict a steeper rate hike of 50 bps, although so far, the ECB has been reluctant to move towards a rate hike. As the Fed and the BOE have already raised their benchmark interest rates, the Euro remains at a disadvantage from the difference in interest rates.
On Thursday, several indicators are scheduled to be released for the Euro, including French Consumer Spending, French Preliminary CPI, German Unemployment Change, Italian Monthly Unemployment Rate, Italian Prelim CPI, EU Unemployment Rate. These are employment and inflation indicators for some of the Eurozone’s leading economies and the Eurozone as a whole and may affect the currency.