FX market outlook

FX market outlook

Posted on Monday, March 20 2017 at 9:21 am GMT+0000

Dollar under pressure, near 3-week lows against yen; gold extends rally.


There was a quiet start to the week as closed markets in Japan led to lackluster trading during the Asian session. With not a lot on the economic calendar, investors digested news from the Group of 20 meeting that took place over the weekend, while currencies consolidated moves from last week. Slight risk aversion led to yen buying. The dollar was down again today.

Finance ministers at the G-20 meeting in Germany over the weekend reiterated their stance against competitive currency devaluations. But there were some concerns about the G-20 communiqué as it omitted a pledge to avoid all forms of protectionism.

The dollar index, measured against six major currencies, was down from last week, as the Federal Reserve’s seemingly dovish stance last week continued to weigh on the greenback.

Dollar / yen hovered at 3-week lows and touched a session low of 112.45. The failure of the Fed to signal an increased pace of rate hikes at its meeting last week pressured the dollar.

The euro continued to trade above the key $1.0700 level, and remained close to its highest level since February. The single currency was given a boost last week after reports from ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny indicated that the ECB could raise interest rates before it ends its quantitative-easing program.

Sterling was consolidating against the dollar just below the key $1.2400 level during most of the Asian session but shot above it late in the session.

In commodities, the softer dollar helped gold rally for a fourth trading day to reach a 2-week high of $1235.38 an ounce in late Asian session trading.

Oil prices slipped after last Friday’s Baker Hughes report showed the US oil rig count hitting its highest levels since September 2015. WTI oil dipped to $48.24 a barrel during today’s Asian session, while Brent crude fell to $51.33 a barrel.

Today’s economic calendar is relatively light, as investors will continue to digest news from last week and prepare for Fed speakers due to speak this week, which include Charles Evans, William Dudley, Neel Kashkari, Robert Kaplan. But the main focus will be on Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday, assuming she comments on monetary policy.