Dollar Up, RBA Keeps Interest Rate Unchanged in Latest Policy Decision

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Dollar Up, RBA Keeps Interest Rate Unchanged in Latest Policy Decision
Credit: © Reuters.

By Gina Lee – The dollar was up on Tuesday morning in Asia, remaining below recent highs as the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) led key central banks in handing down their policy decisions.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.04% to 93.918 by 11:50 PM ET (3:50 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair inched down 0.05% to 113.92.

The AUD/USD pair was down 0.31% to 0.7501 and the NZD/USD pair inched down 0.10% to 0.7174.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.05% to 6.4005 while the GBP/USD pair edged down 0.16% to 1.3651.

The RBA kept its November interest rate unchanged at 0.10% as it handed down its policy decision earlier in the day. The decision comes as the central bank failed to defend its yield target as bonds sold off over recent sessions, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is likely to track its Antipodean counterpart’s moves in its next policy decision.

Other central banks could take their cues from the RBA decision, with the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England handing down their policy decisions on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. All three face the common dilemma of surging inflation.

"The elephant in the room is headline and underlying inflation, which are higher than the (Fed) was anticipating. We expect the Fed to state that it is ready to act decisively if inflation is not moving towards target levels when asset tapering ends, but it still expects inflation to fall as supply constraints ease," Standard Chartered (OTC: SCBFF ) head of G10 FX Steve Englander told Reuters.

"We think investors will see this as advancing the likely timing of Fed rate hikes. We also expect FX markets to react to the implied Fed threat of rates moving off zero but discount inflation optimism. This adds up to a dollar-positive combination of higher real rates and increased risk-off positions."

Meanwhile, trader positioning is indicative of bets on higher rates, as speculators crowd in to short the yen.

"That's a bet that interest rate trends will continue to move against the yen as they rise elsewhere, particularly in the U.S.," Societe Generale (OTC: SCGLY ) strategist Kit Juckes told Reuters.

"In other words, there's a majority that thinks the bond sell-off isn't over yet. It's also, to a smaller extent, a bet that risk sentiment will survive the experience."

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