USD Maintains Gains As Fed Upbeat On Future Growth Prospects

The USD was holding on to the gains of the latest few sessions – particularly against the euro and the yen, as the Fed was relatively upbeat about the US economy while almost ruling out a June rate hike. The dollar was trying to push the euro below 1.11, while the greenback climbed above 121 against the yen (a new 2-month high was made at 121.47). EUR/USD rose above 1.11 at 1.1109 after upbeat French PMI numbers, while USD/JPY was at 121.09.The minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting at the end of April contained few surprises. The key takeaways were that a June rate hike was looking unlikely; something that the market already suspected and that the Fed expected the economy to recover from its slump in the first quarter. Interestingly, the Fed was also fretting about the financial market’s reaction to a possible rate hike – something which suggests they could be more accommodative. The minutes did not cause much movement in the dollar.In Asia, the Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI rose slightly to 49.1 in May from 48.9 the previous month but was below expectations of a 49.3 and of course still in contraction territory below the 50 level. Weak Chinese growth is keeping commodities weak and the Australian dollar has also been under pressure as commodity prices such as iron ore have been under pressure lately. The aussie was slightly below 79 cents at 0.7897 against the US dollar.Looking ahead it is likely to be an interesting session as there will be a number of data points and events that traders will be interested in. First of all, preliminary Eurozone Services and Manufacturing PMIs for May will indicate whether the economic recovery in the Eurozone is on track or not. PMIs will be followed by UK retail sales for April, which again have the potential to move sterling as the Bank of England minutes the previous day were slightly more hawkish than anticipated. Minutes from the previous ECB meeting together with a speech by its President Mario Draghi on inflation and unemployment later in the day will also occupy euro traders.The United States calendar is also relatively busy although perhaps lacking the single big headline-grabbing event. Weekly jobless claims will be followed by preliminary Markit Manufacturing PMI and then existing home sales for April and the Philly Fed index. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will also speak at the same conference that Draghi is speaking and San Francisco Fed President John Williams will also give a speech, but both Fed speakers may avoid touching on the US economy and monetary policy.

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