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USD Remains Soft Ahead of Powell’s Comments

USD: One of the (many) hot stories in financial markets today is the surge in base metal prices, where the likes of copper, tin, nickel, lead and zinc are all rallying on the back of global recovery hopes and supply challenges. This comes at a time when investors are coming around to the view that the Fed really does want to let inflation run hot. The focus this week will be on Fed Chair Jay Powell’s semi-annual testimony to Congress today and tomorrow and then January PCE data on Friday. We expect Powell to navigate the current market challenges well – ie, not contribute to the bond sell-off – but let’s see whether US Treasuries can survive a tricky week. The big commodity rally would normally be seen to be a dollar negative – unless it ripples through the bond market to trigger a correction in frothy risk assets.

CAD: Bank of Canada Gov. Macklem is speaking today at 12.30ET. Though the speech is not expected to be market moving, the press conference is likely where the rate outlook and the CAD are very likely to come up. The CAD has edged off its overnight high against the USD—around 1.2585—but we think there are grounds to believe the CAD still has further upside potential in it. WTI remains firm, trading above $62/bbl this morning, but the broader gains in commodity prices are significant and appear sustainable as investors embrace the global reflation trade. This should deliver a further terms of trade boost to the CAD.

EUR: EUR/USD is coming under a little pressure as we start a new week – alongside other cyclical currencies. Again, the focus will be on whether bond markets spark an equity correction (Dow futures shifting lower as we write) and as a result, EUR/USD could be pressing 1.20 again. Look out for German IFO today. However, any better than expected number might struggle to push EUR/USD above 1.2150/70 on a nervous day for risk assets.

GBP: Today is the Big Reveal of reopening plans. Schools look likely to reopen 8 March, with non-essential retail perhaps in April.  The GBP is likely to continue to remain in rally mode over the short term.

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