The Federal Reserve’s conundrum: stubbornly low inflation

Good morning, traders  are  doing little more than  picking up the pieces from  Friday dismal US CPI while searching for the next catalyst

The Federal Reserve’s conundrum: stubbornly low inflation

US equity markets closed the week out on a high note while US Treasury Yields sagged after the US CPI continued to miss market expectations. And despite Core CPI missing for the seventh consecutive month and taxing the Fed’s transitory inflation argument, Dr Yellen continued to tow the FOMC line during the weekend IMF meetings. Dr Yellen said “my best guess is that these soft (inflation) readings will not persist” and that “with the ongoing strengthening of labour markets, I expect inflation to move higher next year”.

Inflation Conundrum
The Feds inflation conundrum is alive and well. And given their ingrained stance regarding inflation, in the absence of any discernible uptick in core or wages, the dollar should continue to struggle as the muted inflation prints might be raising the risks of slower action by the Fed.

But given a very light economic calendar this week, dealers will remain single-mindedly focused on Fed chair nomination and tax reform headlines for short-term direction, which should keep the dollar bulls hopes somewhat alive.


Mario Draghi kept it very dovish into weeks end echoing his recent comments and delivering an unambiguous signal to markets that while the ECB is likely to address the QE program in October, forget about a rate hike anytime soon.

FED Speak
The market is always agog about in “Fed speak” more so after a miserable inflation print. So we should expect Chair Yellen deliveries this week to come into focus. While her comments are unlikely to affect the December Rate hike scenario, the markets will key on her emphasis regarding inflaton do determine if any more uncertainty is entering the picture. But based on her weekend IMF comments, she seems emphatical that inflation will flare up soon.

Asia EM FX
Markets have apparently found a happy medium after all the tax reform and US economic data had markets pricing in a quicker pace of Fed normalisation, underpinning the broader USD. But with the Feds inflation conundrum alive and well the market will likely pivot to the Global Growth storyline and its positive implication for regional risk. Uncertainties around US inflation should keep the dollar grounded, and traders should prefer to sell the greenback on rallies with both CNH and MYR most likely to outperform on the dovish Fed narrative.

Draghi’s dovish overtones are weighing on sentiment despite the downside miss on US CPI. Euro bulls are tentatively re-engaging in early APAC but looking over their shoulder for Tax Reform and New Fed Chair headlines.

Japanese Yen

US CPI fallout is weighing on sentiment, but the market is still searching for an election buzz. But with the risk rewards fading for the long dollar positions I suspect the short term players are prepared to sell USD on rallies.

Australian Dollar 

With commodity prices basing and Fed policy beyond 2017 wobbling the Aussie could extend gains early in the week.

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
Stephen Innes

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