Dollar falls as U.S. consumer price rises temper in July, data show

By John McCrank

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The dollar fell on Wednesday after U.S. inflation data showed consumer price increases eased in July, taking some pressure off the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back the monthly bond purchases that are part of its toolbox to support the economic recovery.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, was down 0.17% at 92.915 at 3:05 p.m. ET (1905 GMT).

Earlier, the U.S. currency hit 93.195, its highest since April 1, and not far off of its 2021 high of 93.439, but it sold off after data showed the consumer price index rose 0.5% last month after climbing 0.9% in June. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.3% after increasing 0.9% in June.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast overall CPI would rise 0.5% and core CPI 0.4%.

While prices are still rising, the Fed has said it expects inflationary pressures to moderate over time as supply catches up with demand following months of COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The CPI report was enough to cause a bit of profit taking for the U.S. dollar, but at the end of the day, it’s not a game changer for the Fed,” said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management. “They’re still going to be announcing taper,” likely within the next six weeks.

The greenback had enjoyed a lift from last week’s better-than-expected U.S. jobs data, as well as from remarks by Fed officials about tapering bond purchases and, eventually, raising rates, sooner than policymakers elsewhere.

Looking forward, the Fed will depend on data when it comes to the timing of the dialing back of its asset purchases, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“It’s all going to be all about next month’s employment report and if that does not impress, tapering, as far September goes, might even get pushed out towards the end of the year,” he said.

In Europe, investor sentiment has declined, with a survey showing a third straight month of deterioration in Germany as rising global COVID-19 cases keep markets on edge.

“Investors have to take on board the possibility of news on Fed tapering at a time when COVID is still very apparent in various parts of the world,” said Rabobank analyst Jane Foley.

“The consequence of this is likely to be a firmer dollar,” she added, especially if the euro breaches its 2021 low.

The euro gained 0.16% against the greenback, to 1.17395, following six straight sessions of losses and having fallen as low as 1.1706 in early deals in Europe, near the year’s low of $1.1704.

Sterling gained 0.2% to 1.38645 against the dollar, pulling back from a two-week low.

The yen was up 0.12% at 110.445, after dropping for five consecutive sessions against the dollar.

South Korea reported a record number of COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while outbreaks in China, Southeast Asia and Australia grow steadily.

The Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar , seen as riskier currencies, rose after the U.S. CPI report, last up 0.33% and 0.5% respectively.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin touched $46,787.60, its highest since May 17. Bitcoin was last up 1.5% at $46,304.54, while ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, was up 2.7% at $3,226.18.

(Reporting by John McCrank in New York; additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Marguerita Choy)

Dollar under pressure, on track for biggest quarterly fall in five years

One Dollar Bills

By Anirban Nag

LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level in five months against the euro on Thursday in trade dominated by month-end rebalancing flows, putting the dollar index on track for its worst quarterly performance in five years.

These flows are caused by global portfolio managers adjusting their existing currency hedges, with many banks taking the view that they could weigh on the dollar.

The dollar index <.DXY> was on track for its biggest monthly fall since April 2015 and its largest quarterly loss since March 2011, as dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen continued to resonate, prompting investors and speculators to cut favourable bets in the greenback.

The index was down 0.2 percent at 94.555 <.DXY>, a five-month low. The dollar was flat against the yen at 112.25 yen <JPY=>, while the euro was up 0.3 percent at $1.1383 <EUR=>, its highest since October 2015.

The common currency was on track to post a quarterly gain of 4.7 percent.

“Things have settled down a bit after those comments from Yellen, with the focus turning to the U.S. jobs data on Friday,” said Nordea FX strategist Niels Christensen.

“More than the employment numbers, what will be important are the average earnings, and if that misses expectations, then we could see the dollar come under more pressure,” Christensen added. “Yellen has left the dollar vulnerable to the downside.”


U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to show the world’s largest economy added 205,000 jobs in March, with the jobless rate steady at 4.9 percent. Average earnings, seen as signalling inflation trends, are expected to rise by 0.2 percent. <ECONUS>

Despite signs of inflation picking up in the United States, Yellen said on Tuesday the Fed would proceed cautiously in raising rates and she highlighted external risks such as slower global growth.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans on Wednesday underscored that caution, saying a “very shallow” series of rate hikes over the next few years is appropriate to buffer the economy from outside shocks and the risk of inflation slipping too low.

In the European session, the euro zone inflation showed some signs of improvement, but traders were cautious about pushing the euro too much higher, given the European Central Bank’s ultra-accommodative policy stance. <ECONEZ>

“The euro is likely to enter a period of range trading around the $1.10 level for the rest of the year,” said Petr Krpata, currency strategist at ING.

“The range-trading argument is based on fading effecting monetary divergence between the Fed and the ECB. The ECB seems to be reluctant to cut the depo rate further into negative territory while the Fed is unlikely to embark on an aggressive tightening cycle.”

(Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Gareth Jones)