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Roller coaster week for the US dollar

Last week, the Fed left interest rates unchanged and issued a largely neutral statement, as was broadly expected. Nevertheless, the US dollar plunged, losing about 2% of its value against the EUR and 1% against the pound in only three days. The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of US trade partners’ currencies, has reached 92, its lowest since January 2015.  What happened to the US dollar and is this case for a bear run?




The Federal Reserve signalled that its concerns about global and economic recession have eased since its last meeting in March. In fact, the affirmation that “global economic and financial developments continue to pose risks” from the March Statement was replaced by “the Committee continues to closely monitor inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments”. On the domestic side, the Fed conclusions were mixed – while labour market conditions have improved...

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Why the Fed might raise rates (in June)…

It is pretty much a nailed on certainty that the Fed won’t raise US interest rates at its meeting this week.  The futures market is pricing in a 2% chance of a rate hike, and the Fed themselves have sent a pretty clear message that nothing will be happening.  According to the minutes of the March 15/16 policy meeting, “many participants expressed a view that the global economic and financial situation still posed appreciable downside risks” meaning that a rate rise in April “would signal a sense of urgency that (some Fed members) did not think appropriate.” 


However, the prospects for a Fed hike in June are a lot more uncertain.  While futures markets only assign a one-on-five chance to a June rate hike, economists seem a lot more confident, with 75% of those surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expecting the Fed to move in mid-June.  There are three main...

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Oil slides as production talks reach stalemate

Ministers from the world’s largest oil producing nations met over the weekend with the aim of cutting production in an attempt to put a floor under prices. Analysts and commentators had Sunday’s date in their diaries since it was announced back in February, in expectation of an agreement to reduce production. However, it fell to host minister, Qatar’s Mohammed Al Sada, to announce yesterday that discussions had broken down just after 9pm local time.


The sticking point was Iran’s decision not to attend on the eve of the meeting after Qatari officials contacted all ministers to say that only countries intending to sign up to the production cuts should attend. In Iran’s absence, Saudi officials refused to agree to anything that did not include Iran’s involvement (after all, there would be nothing to stop Iran increasing production and benefiting from the rising prices resulting from production cuts elsewhere).


In anticipation of a...

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