The dollar has continued to find some support this morning, benefiting from a general sell-off in the bond market, the impact of the EU oil embargo on Russia, and better-than-expected US data (consumer confidence yesterday). The past few days seem to have conveyed the message that the Fed’s tightening cycle is based on a sturdier growth story than Europe's (especially after the Russian oil embargo) and the speculation around a September Fed pause is being kept at bay for now. Ultimately, we think all this is laying the basis for a period of gradual re-strengthening in the dollar. Today, data will remain in focus in the US, as the ISM manufacturing and JOLTS job openings for May are released. On the Fed side, John Williams and the arch-hawk James Bullard are both scheduled to speak today, and markets will also keep an eye on regional trends emerging from the Fed’s Beige Book released this evening.
The Bank of Canada is set to raise interest rates for a third consecutive meeting today, and the Bank’s recent communication has strongly suggested we’ll see another 50bp hike which is our base case scenario for today, given the strong economy and jobs market, as well as elevated inflation. We don’t however exclude a 75bp move: markets seem to attach a relatively high probability to this scenario given that 70bp are priced in ahead of today’s meeting.
We think that the BoC will reiterate a very strong commitment to fighting inflation and allow markets to consolidate their bets on at least another 50bp hike in July and a terminal rate around 3.0%. Ultimately, this should put a floor under the loonie, which has been displaying some resilience against the USD rebound and may not depreciate beyond the 1.2700-1.2750 area even if the 75bp bets have to be scaled back today. Observe the USD/CAD chart.
EUR/USD is re-testing the 1.0700 support this morning after a marginal recovery late yesterday proved very temporary. Indeed, the common currency is discounting the re-assessment of the European economic outlook after the EU announced a ban on Russian oil. That news came in conjunction with evidence that inflationary pressures in the eurozone are still not easing, as eurozone-wide CPI figures for May jumped to 8.1% while the core rate advanced to 3.8% year-on-year. While high inflation is keeping the ECB tightening expectations supported, the euro – which is already embedding a good deal of monetary tightening – is struggling to find any solid bullish driver at the moment. In our view, this was a matter of time and we continue to target a return to the 1.0500 area in EUR/USD by the end of this month.
The pound seems to have been caught in the crossfire of the EU-Russia oil embargo story, largely following other European currencies lower. Given a deteriorating growth outlook in the UK, we expect some GBP weakness ahead and see a move lower in the coming weeks as likely. However, we do not see a sterling downtrend morphing into a collapse. With UK markets closed for two days, expect reduced GBP volatility into the weekend.