Dollar hits one-year high as traders anticipate US interest rate rises

E-newsletter: Unhedged

The US greenback on Thursday traded at its strongest stage in a yr in opposition to main currencies as merchants banked on persistent inflation driving the Federal Reserve nearer to its first pandemic-era rate of interest rise.

The greenback index, which measures the US foreign money in opposition to six others together with the euro and sterling, hit its highest stage since September 28 2020, following days of uneven buying and selling on monetary markets after central financial institution officers signalled the top of ultra-supportive financial insurance policies.

Headline inflation within the US is working at a couple of 13-year excessive after economies reopened from final yr’s shutdowns, creating provide chain bottlenecks.

The Fed final week raised its inflation forecasts and indicated that it might cut back its $120bn a month of bond purchases which have boosted lending and spending via the pandemic. It mentioned half of its financial policymakers now anticipated an rate of interest rise subsequent yr.

Fed chair Jay Powell, who for a lot of this yr characterised worth pressures as transitory, on Wednesday warned that “irritating” inflationary pressures would persist.

“We’re seeing persistent and broad-based inflation within the US and Europe,” mentioned Tatjana Greil Castro, co-head of public markets at bond investor Muzinich.

Powell has now “ready the market” for the Fed to scale back its bond purchases from November, which “leaves open the potential for the primary price hike being delivered in the course of the second half of subsequent yr”, mentioned Lee Hardman, foreign money analyst at MUFG Financial institution.

Line chart of Dollar index  showing US currency strengthens on rate rise bets

The earnings yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury be aware, which informs the valuations traders are keen to pay for higher-risk equities, was flat at 1.527 per cent on Thursday however has climbed from about 1.3 per cent simply over every week in the past.

“It should simply attain 2 per cent, if not a bit of bit larger” by the top of the yr, Greil Castro mentioned, as traders adjusted the earnings returns they sought from the mounted curiosity securities according to bets on rates of interest and inflation.

US inventory markets, which endured their worst day of losses since Could on Tuesday, had been on observe to complete September within the pink. The S&P 500 index was down 0.5 per cent at noon on Thursday in New York, down 4 per cent for the month and heading for its first month-to-month loss since January.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite traded flat, taking its month-to-month efficiency to a 4.4 per cent loss.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 index market ended September 3.2 per cent decrease, after rising 0.2 per cent on Thursday, though some traders mentioned they remained optimistic.

“We’re staying within the buy-the-dip camp,” mentioned Marija Veitmane, fairness strategist at State Road World Markets, referring to the observe of topping up on shares of robust firms in periods of inventory market volatility.

Corporations within the US and Europe, having benefited from low cost cash in the course of the pandemic, had been now “awash with money”, and capable of put money into their companies, which was “thrilling for long-term profitability”, Veitmane mentioned.

Shaniel Ramjee, senior funding supervisor at Pictet, mentioned that rising bond yields would “push a rotation available in the market” that favoured shares within the banking and power sectors whose dividend yields had been excessive sufficient to stay enticing in comparison with Treasuries.

Brent crude, the worldwide oil benchmark, was regular at $78.57 a barrel after breaching the $80 mark for the primary time in nearly three years earlier this week.


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