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US Dollar edges higher amid ongoing Fed chair speculation

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24 October 2017

Written by
Matthew Ryan

Senior Market Analyst at Ebury. Providing expert currency analysis so small and mid-sized businesses can effectively navigate international markets.

The Euro approached a two week low against the US Dollar on Monday with continued speculation that Donald Trump will appoint a more hawkish candidate as the next chair of the Federal Reserve keeping the greenback well supported against most major currencies.

S President Trump claimed yesterday that he would make his choice for Fed chair ‘very shortly’, a list of which is understood to include Governor Jerome Powell, Stanford economist John Taylor and existing chair Janet Yellen. While Powell appears to be the most likely candidate, the market is increasingly coming round to the possibility that more hawkish candidate Jon Taylor could take over from Yellen, which could potentially increase the pace of US interest rate hike in 2018.

This morning’s preliminary business activity PMIs out of the Eurozone also did little to support the common currency. The composite PMI, which represents a weighted average of both the manufacturing and services sectors, slowed to 54.9 from 56.7 following a fairly abrupt slowdown in services output. Investors had expected a very modest down-tick to 56.5. Consumer confidence data for October was mildly encouraging yesterday, increasingly to -1.0 from -1.2.

Sterling steady despite PM May Brexit optimism

Sterling traded within a relatively narrow range against the US Dollar as markets opened for the week on Monday, with the market mostly taking Brexit optimism in its stride.

Theresa May’s comments hailing ‘important progress in EU talks did little to inspire any sort of rally in the Pound. The PM claimed she was ‘ambitious and positive’ about future negotiations during her speech yesterday, describing talks as being constructed in a ‘constructive spirit’.

Meanwhile, with an interest rate hike in the UK in November already mostly priced into the value of Sterling, investors largely overlooked somewhat dovish comments from Bank of England rate-setter Jon Cunliffe yesterday afternoon. Cunliffe claimed that the economy ‘has clearly slowed this year’, and that interest rates will not go up by as far and as fast as they did before the financial crisis in 2008. He also suggested that the crisis was still having an effect on productivity in the UK.

With no economic data releases on the docket in the UK today, Sterling will be largely driven by political developments. We instead look to Wednesday’s preliminary GDP numbers for the third quarter.