Economic news

Dollar Weakens as Bets Mount for Less Hawkish Fed

SINGAPORE, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The dollar stood close to a more than one-month low against a basket of currencies on Thursday, amid gathering expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will shift to less aggressive interest rate hikes.

The euro peaked at $1.00935 and sterling at $1.1645 in early Asia trade, both their highest since Sept. 13, though they later pared gains and fell 0.13% each.

Against the Japanese yen , the greenback fell 0.24% to 146.05.

"Fundamentally, there are factors that are still favouring the U.S. dollar: rate differentials, the fact that the Fed still has more work to do," said Rodrigo Catril, senior currency strategist at National Australia Bank.

"But certainly near term, given how much was priced, we've seen a bit of retracement in the dollar ... Our sense is that it's a bit of a consolidation of the recent moves rather than extension of further dollar declines."

Looking ahead to next week's FOMC meeting, markets are expecting another 75 basis point hike, although sentiment is building that the Fed will opt for a smaller increase in December.

Housing data released this week, which showed that U.S. single-family home prices sank in August and sales of new U.S. single-family homes dropped in September, providing more evidence that the Fed's aggressive tightening cycle is already working to slow the economy.

Overnight, the Bank of Canada announced a smaller-than-expected interest rate hike and said it was getting closer to the end of its historic tightening campaign.

The Canadian dollar last traded at 1.3554 per U.S. dollar.

Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar index was up 0.18% at 109.76, after having slid to 109.54 earlier in the session, its lowest level in over a month.

The main focus on Thursday will be a rate decision by the European Central Bank, with markets expecting it to deliver a 75 bp rate hike.

"What the ECB says will be important," said National Australia Bank's Catril.

"The question is whether they want to ... show that full commmitment to the inflation mandate, or whether they show weakness or concerns in terms of what looks to be a challenging growth outlook."

Meanwhile, the Aussie gained 0.15% to $0.6505, as a red-hot inflation print stoked pressure for more aggressive rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Data released on Wednesday showed that Australian inflation raced to a 32-year high last quarter.

Westpac on Thursday said it expected the RBA to raise its cash rate by 50 bp in November, and now expects the policy rate to peak at 3.85% by March, having earlier expected it reach 3.6%.

The kiwi rose to $0.58635, its highest in more than a month, and was last up 0.51% at $0.5861.

Reporting by Rae Wee; Editing by Edmund Klamann

Source: Reuters

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