Dollar bides times ahead of anticipated Fed rate cut

Credit: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

By Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - The dollar was steady against other major currencies on Wednesday as investors braced for a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve and an advance reading of economic growth in the third quarter that could shed light on the rate outlook.

Sterling was also stable, holding below recent five-month highs, after Britain's lower house of parliament approved calling an early election in December that might break the Brexit deadlock.

For now the spotlight turned to the Fed, which is expected to cut its policy rate for a third time in a row when it concludes its two-day meeting on Wednesday.

An advance reading of economic growth data in the third quarter was also expected to be scrutinized for clues on the economic outlook, coming ahead of other major data releases such as Friday's key non-farm payrolls report.

"In the last 4-5 weeks there has been a concern that the consumer part of the market is starting to slow and that could mean more cuts next year," said Derek Halpenny, European head of global markets at MUFG in London.

"So what lies ahead post the Fed meeting, the GDP data, payrolls will shape market expectations in addition to what (Fed chief Jerome) Powell will say today."

The dollar was steady against the euro at $1.1117 EUR= and marginally lower versus a basket of six major currencies at 97.630 .DXY.

Against the yen, the greenback was also little moved at 108.86 yen JPY=, not far from its three-month high of 109.07 yen touched on Tuesday.

Investors are watching for any indication that further cuts are likely, with futures pricing suggesting more easing is expected in 2020. If that is not foreshadowed, traders expect the dollar to rise.

"If the market is going to price in the end of current rate-cut cycle, the dollar/yen could climb above 110 yen," said Tohru Sasaki, head of Japan markets research at JPMorgan Chase Bank.

"On the other hand, if the market is going to price in two more cuts after this month's expected cut, the pair could fall to mid-107 yen level," he added.


Optimism that Washington and Beijing would finalise the first-stage of a trade deal next month had boosted risk assets in recent days, but markets have turned wary.

A U.S. administration official said on Tuesday an interim trade agreement between the United States and China might not be completed in time for signing on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Chile next month, but that does not mean the accord is falling apart.

The Chinese yuan inched up marginally as investors awaited the outcome of the Fed meeting and more clarity on how Sino-U.S. trade negotiations are going.

In the spot market, offshore spot yuan CNH=EBS was last changing hands at 7.0580, a touch firmer on the day.

Earlier in the onshore market, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate CNY=PBOC at a two-month high of 7.0582 per dollar, 35 pips firmer than Tuesday's fix.

Sterling meanwhile drew support from hopes that a disorderly Brexit can be avoided.

Britain will hold its first December election in almost a century after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won approval from the House of Commons on Tuesday for an early ballot aimed at breaking the deadlock over the UK leaving the European Union

The British pound was last at $1.2874 GBP=D3, little changed on the day and below five-month highs hit earlier this month. It was also steady at 86.34 pence EURGBP=D3.

"Johnson has cross-party support and (the opposition) Labour Party has lost a fair lot of the credibility it had in the 2017 election," said MUFG's Halpenny.

"So that's reflected in the stability in sterling - markets believe the Conservative party will hold on to power and have a Brexit deal agreed with the EU."

(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Additional reporting by Tomo Uetake in TOKYO; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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