Hawkish Fed bets fuel US Dollar rally ahead of the weekend

Supported by upbeat macroeconomic data releases and hawkish comments from Fed officials, the US Dollar continued to gather strength against its rivals and the US Dollar Index (USD) reached its highest level since early January above 104.00 on Friday. In the absence of high-impact data releases, markets will pay close attention to central bank speak ahead of the weekend.

The European Central Bank will release the December Current Account numbers. Export and Import Price indexes data for January will be featured in the US economic docket. Statistics Canada will publish January Industrial Product Price and Raw Material Price Index figures.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday that the Core Producer Price Index edged slightly lower to 5.4% in January from 5.5% but this reading came in much higher than the market expectation of 4.9%.0Additionally, the US Department of Labor’s report revealed that there were less than 200,000 Initial Jobless Claims for the fifth straight week.

Meanwhile, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said the Fed will need to go above 5% and stay there for a while as it has more work to do to control inflation. Similarly, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard noted that continued policy rate increases can help lock in a ‘disinflationary trend’ during 2023. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond yield gained more than 1% for the third straight day on Thursday and continued to stretch higher toward 3.9% early Friday, helping the USD outperform its rivals.

In the second day of his testimony, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe reiterated on Friday that the board expects that further increases will be needed over the months ahead. This comment failed to help the Aussie find demand during the Asian trading hours and AUD/USD was last seen trading at its lowest level in five weeks below 0.6850.

“If evidence begins to accumulate to show that inflation is not declining in line with forecast, we are prepared to raise policy rate further, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said while testifying before the Standing Committee on Finance on Thursday. USD/CAD showed no immediate reaction to Macklem’s remarks and registered strong gains for the second straight day on Thursday. The pair preserves its bullish momentum and rises toward 1.3500 early Friday.

NZD/USD stays on the back foot and declines toward 0.6200 on Friday. New Zealand Financial Minister Robertson said earlier in the day there was evidence that inflation has peaked.

EUR/USD closed below 1.0700 on Thursday and failed to stage a rebound, pressured by the broad US Dollar strength. The pair trades below 1.0650 early Friday. PPI in Germany declined to 17.8% on a yearly basis in January from 21.6% in December, compared to the market expectation of 16.4%.

GBP/USD broke below 1.2000 and touched its weakest level since January 6 at 1.1930 early Friday. Reports suggesting that there was a growing speculation that a deal between the UK and the US on the Northern Ireland Protocol was imminent failed to help the Pound Sterling stay resilient against the USD. The UK’s Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that Retail Sales rose by 0.5% on a monthly basis in January. This reading came in better than the market expectation for a decrease of 0.3% but failed to trigger a bullish reaction in the pair.

USD/JPY extended its rally in the Asian session and reached its highest level since late December above 134.50.

Although XAU/USD managed to close flat on Thursday, it came in under renewed bearish pressure amid rising US T-bond yields early Friday. Gold price was last seen losing more than 0.5% on the day at $1,825.

Bitcoin advanced above $25,000 for the first time since August on Thursday but made a sharp U-turn during the American trading hours to post a daily loss of nearly 4%. BTC/USD was last seen moving up and down in a narrow channel above $23,500. Ethereum failed to build on Wednesday’s impressive gains on Thursday and closed below $1,700. In the early European morning, ETH/USD is up nearly 1% at around $1,650.

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