US dollar receives a pre-FOMC tailwind

US dollar eyes FOMC meeting

The US dollar had a mixed session overnight, falling against the risk-sensitive Commonwealth currencies but rising mostly versus the majors, with the dollar index creeping slightly higher to 90.84 overnight. Gains were most notable versus the euro and the Japanese yen.

In Asia today, the US dollar has strengthened more broadly across the board against the majors, Commonwealths and Asian regional currencies. Like equity markets, it would appear that Asian investors are happy to reduce exposure ahead of the FOMC as a precaution against any unexpected surprises in Fed guidance. That means unwinding some of the previous US dollar shorts the world has put on through April. In all likelihood, and assuming no Fed surprises or a move higher in US yields, the US dollar should resume its retreat on Thursday.

The Indian rupee continues to make a comeback despite the dire Covid-19 situation, which sent the currency spiralling lower last week. Having risen to near 76.00 last week, USD/INR has fallen to 74.812 this morning. Indications that cases may be peaking in Mumbai and New Delhi has spurred a rush of hot money back into the India recovery play. Whether this is premature optimism helped along by some subtle intervention by the central bank, it is too soon to tell.

In the bigger picture, USD/INR staged a massive upward breakout of its one-year downtrend line at 74.00 in early April, after the Reserve Bank of India announced a formal quantitative easing programme. USD/INR had fallen back to 74.30 before Covid-19 exploded in India, which remains a crucial pivot level, even if India’s situation improves rapidly. Investor’s risk appetite will have to accelerate notably from present levels to unwind the QE discount they built into the INR price after the RBI announcement.

India’s travails aside, I expect Asian currencies to trade modestly to the weaker side ahead of the FOMC meeting. That weakness could accelerate if the Covid-19 situation in Thailand, South Korea or Japan takes a sudden turn for the worse.

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.

Jeffrey Halley

Jeffrey Halley

Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific
With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley is OANDA’s senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV, Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.
Jeffrey Halley
Jeffrey Halley

Latest posts by Jeffrey Halley (see all)