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The dollar edged marginally lower in early European trade Wednesday, remaining near multi-month lows ahead of the release of the eagerly-awaited minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.
At 2:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.1% at 89.683, close to the lowest since late February.
EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.2245, climbing to its highest level since early January, USD/JPY was 0.1% lower at 108.95, while the risk-sensitive AUD/USD was flat at 0.7792.
The minutes from the Fed’s most recent meeting are due later on Wednesday, and are expected to confirm that policymakers think the U.S. economy still needs support. As such, the reining in of the central bank’s ultra-easy monetary policies will remain in the distance.
The pound soared to a three-month high against the dollar, riding on the coattails of reopening optimism, but the end of pandemic will bring the focus back on the Brexit effects that could halt cable’s run higher, according to an FX expert.
GBP/USD rose 0.39% to $1.4188.
“Corona euphoria is continuing, but we remain Sterling sceptical,” Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) FX, EM Analysts You-Na Park-Heger said in a note. But with the end of the pandemic, market attention “will increasingly focus on the (negative) Brexit effects again, […] we see little scope for further Sterling appreciation,” Heger added.
The success of the vaccine rollout, with about 55% having already received the first dose, keeps the U.K. on track to lift all Covid-19 restrictions in about one month, and has helped strengthened the recovery, particularly in the labor market.
The U.K. reported Wednesday 46,000 job gains in March, taking the total to 102,000 jobs from the trough in January, suggesting the U.K. “may finally be turning a corner with further reopening effects ahead,” Scotiabank said in a note.
European stock markets are seen opening sharply lower Wednesday, following the late selloff on Wall Street overnight amid uncertainties over inflation and future Federal Reserve policy.
At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.2% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 1.2% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.9%.
The major indices on Wall Street failed to hold onto early gains on the back of strong retail earnings Tuesday, suffering a sharp selloff into the close. All the major tech stocks ended in the red as investors feared holding these growth companies into the release of the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting.
Stocks have been pressured of late on concerns that growing inflationary pressures could force the U.S. central bank to rein in its ultra-easy monetary policies.
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