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Fed unlikely to rock markets…expect a non-event

USD: Investors' focus has been primarily on China over the first half of the week and on the sharp drop in Chinese equities which has created a shockwave that has hit most global risk assets. Asian sessions are seeing stocks still under pressure today, as we continue to see the negative impact of Beijing’s regulatory crackdown. The Fed rate announcement will be the highlight of the day. Most market analysts expect the meeting to be a non-event where it is widely expected that the FOMC maintains the status quo. After all, Chair Powell has recently reiterated his view that inflation spikes have a transitory nature, and do not warrant any imminent change in the Fed’s policy mix. From an FX perspective, the impact on the dollar from today’s announcement will be contained, with a balance of risks that appear tilted to the upside as the acknowledgment of above-trend inflation and growth should allow markets to keep speculating of a more hawkish turn in Jackson Hole, and on a 2022 rate hike.

CAD: USD/CAD had a rather uneventful week, although hopefully, today will be better. CPI is released today, which will be closely watched, especially as the BoC, similar to the Fed, believe that the recent rise is temporary. The recent global growth concerns due to Covid haven’t really affected the loonie and with the BoC maintaining its hawkish stance at the last meeting, a number above expectations has the ability to see a larger move to the downside. The Fed meeting today is likely to be a non-event but an inflation print above forecast should see the market start to re-price a slightly more hawkish outlook, which should see CAD outperform. Today’s trading range remains within a 1.2420/40 1.2650/60 range.

EUR: EUR/USD has continued to gravitate around the 1.1800 level, still looking unable to make a decisive move as the dollar remains protected from falling US real rates thanks to its safe-haven status and the euro appears to be lacking clear catalysts at the moment. Yesterday, comments by ECB’s De Cos fell firmly on the dovish side, suggesting the ECB should maintain some flexibility on the shape of its QE program even after the pandemic. Today, there are no data releases worth mentioning in the eurozone, and some positive impact on the dollar after the rate announcement may send EUR/USD back to the lower region of its recent trading range.

GBP: Sterling is the best performing G10 currency so far this week, as it detached from global risk dynamics and may have been buoyed by a slowdown in UK Covid-19 cases, which is raising hopes that the government’s decision to lift almost all restrictions may prove to be a sustainable approach. GBP is heading into next week’s Bank of England meeting with a balanced positioning, which may be allowing some hawkish speculation to emerge.

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