Dollar Down, Investors Monitor Inflation and Fed Monetary Tightening

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Dollar Down, Investors Monitor Inflation and Fed Monetary Tightening
Credit: © Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – The dollar was down on Friday morning in Asia. Fears that inflation will remain high and that the U.S. Federal Reserve will tighten its monetary policy soured investor sentiment, driving gains for the safe-haven Japanese yen vis-a-vis the riskier Australian dollar.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched down 0.06% to 95.665 by 10:41 PM ET (3:41 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair was down 0.37% to 113.66, a one-week low.

The AUD/USD pair was down 0.50% to 0.7189 and the NZD/USD pair was down 0.36% to 0.6730.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.03% to 6.3430. The GBP/USD pair inched down 0.01% to 1.3593, near its lowest level since Jan. 11.

The U.S. currency took a breather from its recent gains as a rally in U.S. Treasury yields cooled. However, it was still headed for its best week in two months.

The Australian dollar fell as much as 0.57% to 82.02 yen, its weakest level in a month, and as last down 0.32% to trade at $0.72035.

U.S. shares suffered a sharp selloff overnight in the final hours of trading, while Asian counterparts were down on Friday. U.S. Treasury yields retreated from multi-year highs. However, U.S. yields advanced, driven by market expectations that the Fed will tighten monetary policy faster than anticipated.

Fed funds futures have already fully priced in an interest rate hike in March 2022 and a total of four hikes within the year.

The Fed will convene for a two-day policy meeting to hand down its policy decision starting Tuesday. Investors will be on the lookout for clues to the Fed’s timeline for both interest rate hikes and asset tapering.

The greenback hit a more-than one-week high on Thursday and was up 0.65% for the week. It rebounded from the previous week's 0.61% slide.

Despite recent volatility, the dollar could rise further as the Fed tightens its monetary policy, according to some investors.

The currency "should continue to firm into next week's Fed meeting," Westpac said in a client note, adding they "wouldn't be surprised" if the dollar index tops its 2021 high at 96.938.

"Admittedly, a lot is priced in now," the note continued, "but a straight comparison of the dollar index versus yield spreads shows that the dollar has not fully priced in this story."

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