Asian shares steady, dollar near 4-month high before Fed decision

05 May, 2018, 19:32 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • The Federal Reserve is expected to hold short-term interest rates steady at the conclusion of its policy meeting Wednesday

Sterling was fairly range bound against the US Dollar on Wednesday, with yesterday's better-than-expected construction PMI providing no more than a temporary boost to the Pound.

Wrapping up a two-day meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee held US interest rates steady on Wednesday, expressing confidence that a recent rise in inflation would be sustained, putting it on track to raise borrowing costs in June.

The Federal Reserve left the base rate unchanged in the United States, but the central bank also stressed that prices are rising and expect inflation to move closer to its 2% target in the medium term.

While the Fed Funds rate was not changed, the basic commentary from the Fed is that the 12-month inflation outlook is expected to run near the Fed's 2% target over the medium term.

"It is probably a pause, but it is nothing to stop the market", said Steven Englander, head of research and strategy at Rafiki Capital in NY.

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The upgrading of the Fed's inflation outlook represented a milestone after roughly six years of price gains falling short of its 2 percent goal, even as key aspects of the economy saw a healthy recovery from the 2007-2009 recession.

The dollar has been buoyed in recent weeks by the strong USA economic outlook and rising yields amid signs of a slowdown in some other developed economies, especially in Europe. Instead, it reiterated that the central bank would continue to gradually tighten the monetary policy further. But the greenback later reversed course to trade higher.

By 13:00 pm local Jakarta time the rupiah had weakened 0.19 percent to IDR 13,975 per USA dollar (Bloomberg Dollar Index).

Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at $1,312.14 per ounce by 2:33 p.m. EDT (1833 GMT), while US gold futures for June delivery settled down $1.20, or 0.1 percent, at $1,305.60. Mr. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs and other penalties against major trading partners, with a particular focus on China, in order to narrow trade deficits. A Trump administration delegation is scheduled to visit Beijing on Thursday and Friday for talks with top Chinese officials.

That shift to unhedged buying, a dramatic move for bond investors, could lead to more dollar purchases, Lombard Odier's Ahmed said. Apple shares were up 4.4 percent.

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The French central bank head said the deceleration in growth in the first quarter of the year is due to balancing.

Germany's DAX Index sank 0.9 percent.

The US Treasury is scheduled to announce its findings from a refunding survey on Wednesday, with analysts projecting an increase in auction sizes, or new issuance at different points on the yield curve.

In the bond market, Treasuries were higher, but little-changed, with the 2-year yield right at 2.5% and the 10-year sitting at 2.96%.

Following the Fed announcement, gold rose by 0.4% to $US1308.70 and West Texas Intermediate crude gained 1.1% to $US67.99 per barrel, the largest gain in two weeks.

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