Equity investors have certainly taken a glass half full view of the world and chased equities higher on Tuesday on signs that the effects of Omicron might be less severe. With concerns just starting to ease over Omicron, attention in FX markets returns to the central bankers and how they plan to manage the growth versus inflation trade-off.
Elsewhere, commodity currencies have done better as risk appetite has improved and in Asia. What does this all mean for the dollar? We cannot rule out a little softness today on a pro-risk story, but inflation concerns also reside at the Federal Reserve. The 15 December FOMC meeting presents a clear bullish event risk for the dollar and any dollar downside should prove limited.
The loonie has been rebounding strongly since the start of the week, and USD/CAD has now moved back below the 1.2700 mark. The Bank of Canada announces monetary policy today - and a major focus will be on the Bank’s assessment of the risks associated with the Omicron variant. Expect the BoC to keep its cautious language, but most doubt they will go as far as rethinking their policy tightening plans considering the ever-strengthening jobs and growth backdrop in Canada. The announcement should have a limited impact on the Canadian dollar, which should remain almost solely driven by external factors (risk sentiment and oil prices). Considering the market is back to pricing five rate hikes in 2022 by the BoC, the bar for a hawkish surprise also appears to be quite high. Further improvements on Omicron-related sentiment may see USD/CAD extend its decline to 1.2500 by year-end.
EUR/USD continues to oscillate well within a 1.1180-1.1380 trading range - a range which looks likely to hold into next week's FOMC meeting. There is not much European data today and instead, the focus will be on ECB speakers at a European Systemic Risk Board conference. This will be one of the last chances to hear from them ahead of next Thursday's (16th) ECB meeting. For now, expect the euro to remain highly rangebound.
It is hard to say whether political missteps from the UK Conservative government are having any impact on the pound - though it does seem this issue of an ill-timed Christmas Party a year ago has further to run. In terms of the macro-central bank story, the market has not completely ruled out the chances of a Bank of England rate hike on 16 December and a BoE inflation attitudes survey released this Friday could prove telling and move GBP in thinning year-end markets.