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Surprise PPI Surges: Dollar Index Impact, Market Reaction

PPI Surges

Producer Price Index (PPI) surges, and the dollar reacts. Asian markets adjust. The US closed for the holiday. Central banks monitored.

Surprisingly, the Producer Price Index (PPI), a key measure of wholesale inflation, showed significant gains for January, diverging from previous downward trends. Headline PPI rose by 0.3% month-on-month (MoM), while the core index surged by 0.5%, surpassing the expected 0.1% increase. On an annual basis, headline PPI climbed by 0.9% year-on-year (YoY), exceeding the estimated 0.6%, while the core index reached 2.0% YoY, surpassing the expected 1.6%. These readings exceeded expectations and surpassed December’s figures, indicating a resurgence of prices in the wholesale sector.

The unexpected acceleration in wholesale prices led to a spike in the dollar index (DXY), reaching as high as 104.67 on Friday. However, these gains were short-lived as the index quickly retreated to close the week at 104.27.

Meanwhile, the University of Michigan released its preliminary findings on consumer sentiment for February, revealing an increase in year-ahead inflation expectations from 2.9% to 3.0%. Despite signs of inflationary pressure in the US economy, demand for the dollar remained subdued.

Asian Markets React

As Asian markets digested the latest PPI data from the US, the dollar index declined towards the 104 level, while spot gold prices surged, aiming for the $2,020/oz mark. After experiencing a notable 3% gain last week, crude oil prices encountered strong resistance around $78.80 per barrel, signalling a potential stall in its upward trajectory as the new trading week commenced.

Surprise PPI Surges: Dollar Index Impact, Market Reaction

US Markets Closed for Washington’s Birthday

In light of Washington’s Birthday, US markets remained closed, honoring past presidents of the United States. With US equity markets shut for the day and futures markets operating on reduced hours, lower trading volumes and muted activity were anticipated, particularly after the conclusion of the European session. The DXY opened around 104.30 before slipping as Asian markets commenced trading.

Central Bank Outlooks

The Federal Reserve maintained the Federal Funds Rate target range at 5.25% to 5.50% for the fourth consecutive meeting, emphasizing its commitment to achieving maximum employment and 2.0% inflation over the long run. Despite solid economic activity, the Committee remains vigilant, awaiting further data before adjusting the target range.

Market Outlook

Expectations were for elevated gold prices, with spot prices likely hovering above $2,020/oz amid reduced holiday trading volume. The Australian Dollar (AUD) and New Zealand Dollar (NZD) were expected to sustain upward momentum, supported after recent declines. The Japanese Yen (JPY), Euro (EUR), Swiss Franc (CHF), Pound (GBP), and Canadian Dollar (CAD) were all expected to see varied trading patterns influenced by global economic developments and central bank policies.

Oil Market Expectations

After experiencing significant gains in recent weeks, crude oil could witness a temporary pullback amid geopolitical tensions in the Middle East before potentially resuming its upward trend.

In summary, the unexpected surge in the PPI, coupled with inflationary expectations, led to initial gains in the dollar index, influencing trading dynamics across various markets. In contrast, US markets remained closed for the holiday. Market participants awaited further cues from central banks and global economic indicators to gauge future trends.

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