Although geopolitical tensions seem to have escalated, investors remain cautious early Thursday and major currency pairs trade in tight ranges. The US Dollar Index holds steady above 106.00 and the 10-year US Treasury bond yield stays calm at around 3.7%. Eurostat will release the final October Core Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) and British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will present the Autumn Budget to parliament. In the second half of the day, October Housing Starts, Building Permits and the weekly Initial Jobless Claims will be featured in the US economic docket. In the second half of the day, several FOMC policymakers will be delivering speeches as well.
Despite the better-than-expected Retail Sales data from the US, safe-haven flows continued to dominate the financial markets on Wednesday. Although Wall Street’s main indexes turned south after the opening bell, the US Dollar struggled to benefit from the souring market mood as investors continued to price in a smaller rate increase in December. According to the CME Group FedWatch Tool, the probability of a 50 basis points Federal Reserve hike currently stands at 85%.
During the Asian trading hours, the data from Australia showed that the Unemployment Rate edged lower to 3.4% in October from 3.5% in September. This reading came in better than the market expectation of 3.6%. Further details of the jobs report revealed that Employment Change was +32.2K, compared to analysts’ estimate of 15K. AUDUSD declined to the 0.6700 area with the initial reaction but managed to erase a large portion of its daily losses heading into the European session.
Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the Annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) stayed unchanged at 6.9% as expected. USDCAD showed no immediate reaction to the inflation data but falling crude oil prices allowed the pair to close in positive territory above 1.3300. At the time of press, the pair was trading flat on the day at around 1.3330.
While testifying before the UK Treasury Select Committee, Bank of England (BOE) Governor Andrew Bailey said that they will still likely increase rates further but noted that they were observing signs that supply chain shock was starting to fade. GBPUSD ended up posting small daily gains on Wednesday before going into a consolidation phase near 1.1900 on Thursday. British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that they need tax hikes and spending cuts to weather the economic storm. Hunt is widely expected to announce a package of tax increases worth £25 billion and spending cuts of £35 billion in the Autumn Budget.
EURUSD stays quiet below 1.0400 early Thursday. European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Wednesday that the “balance sheet reduction must be implemented with prudence” and added that they were planning to start with a passive quantitative tightening.
USDJPY is having a difficult time making a decisive move in either direction and moving sideways in a narrow range below 140.00. Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said earlier in the day that they were expecting CPI growth to fall below 2% in the next fiscal year with “cost-push” factors tapering off.
Gold snapped a four-day winning streak on Wednesday and continued to edge lower early Thursday. XAUUSD trades below $1,770 as the 10-year US T-bond yield holds steady.
Bitcoin extends its sideways grind near $16,500 and Ethereum is down more than 1% at around $1,200.