Dollar Edges Higher Ahead of CPI Data; Sterling Weakens

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Dollar Edges Higher Ahead of CPI Data; Sterling Weakens

By Peter Nurse - The U.S. dollar traded in a tight range in early European trading Thursday ahead of the release of widely-watched U.S. inflation data, while sterling edged lower ahead of the potential end of the Bank of England's emergency bond-buying program.

At 03:00 ET (07:00 GMT), the Dollar Index , which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, edged 0.1% higher to 113.332, remaining close to a 20-year peak.

The dollar remains in demand after minutes of the central bank’s September meeting showed on Wednesday that policymakers unanimously agreed on the need for more monetary tightening to combat inflation. 

“This is the narrative that is keeping the general trend in risk assets bearish and the dollar supported, and we do not expect it to change until 1Q23 at the earliest,” said analysts at ING, in a note.

The main focus Thursday will be on the release of the latest U.S. inflation data, which is expected to show that annual CPI inflation remained above 8% in September, remaining close to a 40-year peak hit earlier in 2022.  

Elsewhere, GBP/USD fell 0.3% to 1.1068, with sterling giving back some of Wednesday's gains amid a lack of clarity over whether the Bank of England will withdraw its support for debt markets on Friday.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey stated earlier in the week that the central bank will end emergency support for bonds at the end of this week. But with Britain's government borrowing costs hitting 20-year highs and the new U.K. government seemingly committed to its spending plans, Bailey is likely to come under pressure to backtrack.

“It does appear that the extension of the emergency gilt buying is currently holding the key to averting another sharp sell-off in the gilt market and the pound,” ING added.

EUR/USD edged lower to 0.9701 after German consumer inflation data was confirmed at elevated levels in September, 10.9% higher year-on-year when harmonized to compare with other European countries.

“With two weeks to go to the October ECB meeting, markets are almost fully pricing in a 75bp hike (70bp embedded in the OIS curve) and a total of 230bp of tightening by mid-2023,” ING added.

USD/JPY fell 0.1% to 146.82, not far from the August 1998 high of 147.64, and well past last month's high of 145.90 which prompted Japanese authorities to intervene to buy the yen.

Data on Thursday showed Japanese PPI inflation touched its highest level in 41 years in September. The country’s authorities have shown few signs of starting to tighten monetary policy to combat this rising inflation, suggesting more downside for the yen without concerted intervention. 

AUD/USD fell 0.1% to 0.6271, after sliding to a 2-1/2-year low of 0.6235 in the previous session, while NZD/USD fell 0.1% to 0.5597, just up from its lowest level since March 2020, seen on Tuesday.

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