Market Preps for FOMC

Market Preps for FOMC 

The USD picture remains one of enduring weakness as the market squares towards the FOMC meeting tonight where they are widely expected to deliver their second rate hike for the year. With the rate hike now 96% priced in focus will fall on the Fed’s forward guidance and importantly their views surrounding low inflation and balance sheet reduction. So the statement and Yellen’s comments will be fervently scrutinised with the risk shaded towards a  hawkish delivery given just how low further rate hike expectation are priced in beyond the June hike. More specifically, if the Feds keep dot plots  on track while offering any references to  transitory  inflation weakness, this will be viewed hawkish and should provide a boost  to the USD

Overnight US PPI came out hotter at 2.4%YoY (vs. 2.3% exp), and Investors now turn focus to the key  CPI report released before tonight’s FOMC. Certainly, the market’s tone leading up to the FOMC will be influenced by this data as an above consensus print will carry with it considerable weight leading up to the Fed comments and likely beyond. Keep in mind; it was two consecutive misses on the CPI, the Fed’s preferred measure for gauging inflation, that chilled the market’s expectations for more hikes beyond June.  Make no mistake it is inflation uncertainty that remains front and foremost and tonight’s CPI print will carry a lot of influence for the markets

US equities rebounded from a two-day slumber with the Dow ringing in another record high as investors are showing little concern about the impending US  rate hike or a   hawkish Fed lean for that matter.Onward and upwards, so it appears.

Currency markets were incredibly subdued overnight, not untypical of pre-FOMC trade but traders likely used the  Attorney General Jeff Session’s Senate testimony as an excuse to sit idle as headline after headline added up to much ado about nothing.  But none the less there are some highlights of note from currency desks

Canadian Dollar

The Loonie remained front and centre and rallied hard after BoC Governor Poloz confirmed the bank’s hawkish lean. In fact, he came across brazenly hawkish sending money markets scrambling for yield with STIRT traders now pricing in over 20 basis points of hikes into year end. Considering the market was pricing in the little chance of a hike 2017, the Bank’s policy pivot certainly caught more than a few dealers flat footed hence the breadth of the Canadian Dollar rally on the currency markets.

British Pound

Taking prudent measures, PM May has reshuffled her cabinet with important movers and shakers along with some moderate backroom negotiators suggesting there is some hope for a  not so nasty divorce.

Sterling gaped higher overnight as UK inflation came in hotter as the effects of a weaker Pound continues to work its way through the economy. Also, freshly minted shorts felt the squeeze when talks of a softer Brexit started to pick up steam as this outcome would be viewed much more market friendly.

But it’s far too premature for markets to start pricing a soft Brexit storyline The UK political landscape is fraught with landmines just waiting for a leadership misstep. At best we could enter a period of political paralysis and at worst the UK could end with a horrible Brexit deal but no viable alternative.

Japanese Yen

USDJPY  remains silent doing little more than the ebb  and flow on risk sentiment and ping-ponging US yields. However, expect dips will continue to supported into the FOMC despite the possible  dollar demise risk from  a dovish rate hike

I suspect dealers will look to play USDJPY aggressively on either side of the Fed coin, so I would expect some fireworks one way or the other as the Fed statement is digested.

Keep in mind the BoJ policy meeting is a lingering risk into weeks end.  While they’re widely expected to leave policy unchanged, the key will be the bank’s forward guidance. Keep in mind the BOJ recent comments talking about Re-Calibrating Communications on Future Exit caused some bewilderment last week. But given that US 10 yields have been falling fairly dramatically it’s more likely the BoJ has already been tapering, but we may still see some aggressive action if the bank does formally announce a reduction in JGB purchases from  JPY80tn annually  to JPY 60tn


The Euro has remained glued to the 1.1200 level, but the ECB did release a statement that it sold a small portion of its USD holdings to make in an investment worth EUR500mn in Renminbi. The central bank said the investment “reflects the importance of China as one of the euro area’s largest trading partners” and completes a decision taken by the Governing Council on May 20.

Not many drivers to point out but of note is the resilience the EUR has shown in the face of a somewhat dovish ECB meeting last week which suggests there remains decent demand and a consensus that traders are looking through the ECB’s short-term view.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Stephen Innes

Stephen Innes

Head of Trading APAC at OANDA
Stephen has over 25 years of experience in the financial markets and currently based in Singapore as the Head of Trading Asia Pacific with OANDA. Stephen's market views focus on the movement of G-10 and ASEAN Currencies. His views appear in Bloomberg, CNBC.Reuters, New York Times WSJ and the Economist. His media appearances include Bloomberg TV & Radio, BBC International, Sky TV, Channel News Asia, ASTRO AWANI and BFM Malaysia. Stephen has an extensive trading experience in Spot and Forward FX, Currency and Interest Rate Futures, Money Market Derivatives and Precious Metals. Before joining OANDA, he worked with organisations like Nat West, Chemical Bank, Garvin Guy Butler, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Stephen was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and holds a Degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Stephen Innes