02.06.2023 10:31 AM
US inflation easing slower than expected
Apart from the positive news about a Senate-approved bill on the US debt ceiling, the sentiment in the risk asset market is also bolstered by remarks from Federal Reserve officials. Lately, they have been frequently hinting at a pause in rate hikes during this month's meeting.

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Recent US inflation data had traders scratching their heads, but pragmatic statements from American politicians, coupled with a deal on US national debt, lead to a swift weakening of the US dollar.

Yesterday, president of the Philadelphia Fed Patrick Harker said that the US central bank was nearing the point where it could stop raising interest rates and maintain them at their current level to reduce inflation. "I do believe that we are close to the point where we can hold rates in place and let monetary policy do its work to bring inflation back to the target in a timely manner," Harker remarked during a virtual event with the National Association of Investors.

The Philly Fed Chief echoed comments he made on Wednesday, expressing his support for keeping rates steady at June's meeting, even if officials would later need to raise them again at subsequent meetings. "I think we should pause, because pause says we're going to hold for a while — and we might," he said. "We should at least skip this meeting in terms of an increase. We can let some of these things resolve themselves, at least to the extent they can."

Notably, the Fed has increased rates by five percentage points over the last 14 months to curb inflation. The easing of price pressure has prompted officials to consider taking a breather at their meeting on June 13-14, allowing the economy to digest the rate hikes. It has been repeatedly noted that the economy's response to such aggressive rate hikes tends to lag, making the summer an ideal time to take a real pause and see how the economy and markets respond.

Harker emphasized that the economic outlook remains uncertain, and he's set to evaluate incoming data to decide if further tightening is necessary. Apparently, no American policymaker wants to steer the economy into recession only to scramble to climb out of it, but letting inflation take root is not on the agenda either. Last year, the Fed made it clear that they would rather see real GDP growth rates cut than let inflation embed in the economy.

Harker, who has a voting position on the committee this year, also highlighted that inflation was still far above the Fed's target level of 2%. Despite easing from a peak of 7% a year ago, the Fed's preferred price change measure in April rose to 4.4% from 4.2%. "Disinflation is under way, but it is doing so at a disappointingly slow pace," Harker said.

As for the EUR/USD pair, the correction has begun. Bulls need to defend 1.0740 and reach 1.0770. This will allow them to drag the price higher to 1.0800. From this level, the pair may climb to 1.0835, but doing so without strong fundamental statistics from the eurozone and weak US data could be quite challenging. If the trading instrument declines, bulls are likely to act near 1.0740. If they do not take action, it is better to wait for the price to reach a low of 1.0700, or consider long positions at 1.0666.

As for the GBP/USD pair, demand for the pound remains strong. The pair's growth can be expected after it settles above 1.2540. Breaking through this level, the pair may recover to 1.2580. After that, the pound/dollar pair may surge to 1.2610. If the pair falls, bears will attempt to take control over 1.2500. If they succeed, this would blow bulls' positions and push the price to a low of 1.2470, pushing the pair lower to 1.2440.

Jakub Novak,
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