ECB and BOE Keep Rates Unchanged, the USD Falls on Weaker Inflation Data

Sept. 6, 2018 (Western Union Business Solutions) – The dollar came under pressure on mixed data showing benign inflation and strong job growth. Core consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.2% in August, down from 2.4% in July. Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly declined by a thousand to a healthy 204,000. The overall robust set of data keeps the Fed on track for a rate hike when it announces its next decision on Sept. 26.

 

CAD

 

The loonie was little changed after flirting with two-week highs this week. Oil prices backpedaled from two-month peaks above $71, the main force behind the commodity-linked currencies tepid tone Thursday. Reports of constructive Nafta negotiations have also been loonie-positive. Downside appears limited for Canada’s currency, given the prevailing view of area interest rates rising from 1.50% as soon as next month.

 

GBP

 

Sterling rose to six-week highs after the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged at 0.75%. The BOE’s statement flagged higher uncertainty related to Brexit which hinted at borrowing rates remaining low over the foreseeable future, a dovish outlook when weighed against the rate rising U.S. central bank. Sterling continues to hover toward the north end of its range on the notion that Britain and the EU might be on a somewhat faster track to a trade deal.

 

EUR

 

The euro strengthened to two-week highs after the ECB left policy unchanged and set the stage for the central bank to end its monthly bond buying stimulus at the end of the year. The ECB will halve its monthly bond buys from €30 billion to €15 billion starting in October with plans, economy-permitting, to conclude the program at the end of 2018. The bank’s new forecasts showed only modest downward revisions to 2018 growth (2.0% vs 2.1%) while it left unchanged its outlook for inflation to grow at a 1.7% pace this year and over coming years. Mr. Draghi voicing confidence in inflation eventually meeting its near 2% goal was well received by euro bulls who bid the single currency higher.

 

AUD

 

The Aussie dollar recovered from 2 ½ year lows, finding helping hands on the nation’s job market and a reduction in U.S.-China trade tensions. Australia added 44,000 jobs last month that were mostly the more meaningful full-time positions which easily exceeded forecasts of a gain of 15,000. Faster hiring didn’t impact unemployment which remained at 5.3%. Washington invited Beijing back to the negotiating table, a development that’s helped to temper concerns about a potential world economy-squeezing trade war.


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