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FOMC minutes boost risk, weaken dollar, oil above $50

The dollar pushed lower against most major currencies today in reaction to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting. The FOMC minutes released on Thursday suggested the US central bank was in no hurry to raise interest rates after its “on hold” decision at last month’s meeting. This left investors to push back expectations of a rate hike until next year.

Fed policymakers were still watching US inflation rates and the impact of slower global growth when considering when to raise interest rates. After the latest dismal nonfarm payrolls report, a December hike may even seem unlikely.
Risk assets such as equities and commodities moved higher today, supported by expectations of a low interest rate environment for a longer period.

The pro‐risk environment resulted in a weaker yen, helping the dollar rise against it to 120.33.

The euro traded higher on the back of a broadly softer dollar and on risk appetite. The euro hit a three-week high of 1.1377. However, excessive gains in the single currency may be limited due to expectations of additional policy easing by the ECB at some point in the future.

Sterling faded gains after reaching an early session high of 1.5382. Weak UK data did not help the pound today. Construction output printed a reading of ‐4.3% m/m in August. Meanwhile, UK trade data came in weaker-than-expected at ‐GBP3.3 bn.

The not-so hawkish FOMC minutes coupled with rising commodity prices helped the Canadian and Australian dollars reach new highs. The aussie reached a seven-week high of 0.7343. Oil prices, extending above $50, were supportive for the loonie which strengthened to a ten-week high against the greenback. Crude oil is set for its biggest weekly rise in over six years. The US dollar fell to a key level of 1.2900 before bouncing back against the Canadian dollar.

The Canadian jobs reports was released today showing that 12,000 jobs were created in September, while the unemployment rate edged up to 7.1%. Markets anticipated a gain of 10,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to remain at 7%. The main risk event for the CAD will be the Bank of Canada interest rate decision (October 22) and the federal election (October 19).

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