It’s been a rotten week for the dollar, with Janet Yellen’s acknowledgement on Wednesday that there are concerns within the Federal Reserve about persistent low inflation hitting the currency quite hard as traders revised lower their expectations for another rate hike this year. This comes at a time when traders were already doubting whether the Fed would follow through on plans for a third hike.
The data from the US has been relatively uninspiring, particularly on the inflation side and the numbers today will have done nothing to give policy makers any more confidence. While CPI may not be the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, it is released three weeks before the core PCE price index and therefore offers plenty of value. The PCE price index may be a little lower than its CPI alternative but they tend to follow similar trends and today’s drop in headline CPI doesn’t bode well for it.
The consumer figures were no better, with retail sales falling for a second month and continuing a worrying trend this year. What’s more, the UoM consumer sentiment survey indicated that things are not going to improve, with current conditions actually exceeding forecasts but expectations falling far short, dragging the overall reading much lower.
As is to be expected, the US dollar has not fared well since the data was released and is currently down around half a percent on the day with sterling trading at a near 10 month high against it and a number of other currencies testing similar levels. Even the yen, which has struggled in recent months, is performing well against the greenback although as it stands, there’s little reason to believe this is anything more than a correction.