U.S. services sector growth drives dollar index surge; RBA policy statement awaited; tensions lift oil prices.
In the latest U.S. session, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported expansion in the services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the 13th consecutive month, surpassing expectations. January’s reading stood at 53.4, higher than the estimated 52.0. New orders, a precursor to future business activity, demonstrated robust growth. Moreover, the prices index saw its most significant monthly gain since August 2012, reflecting increased demand within the services sector.
This continued growth in the services industry has been pivotal in driving overall economic expansion in the United States. With more robust demand pushing up prices, the Federal Reserve may exercise patience with any potential interest rate cuts in the near term. Consequently, the dollar index (DXY) surged overnight, reaching 104.60.
Outlook for the Asia Session
Investors anticipate the release of the monetary policy statement today from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Market expectations suggest the RBA will maintain the cash rate at 4.35%. Despite weak economic activity indicated by recent PMI reports, inflation remains above the RBA’s target range of 2 to 3%. Therefore, a hawkish outlook in the RBA statement, given persistent inflation, could temporarily boost the Australian dollar.
U.S. Services Sector Growth Continues as Dollar Index Surge
Key Events in Focus: FOMC Member Mester Speech
Looking ahead, market participants await a speech by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester at the Ohio Bankers League Economic Summit. Any indication aligning with Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s stance against premature interest rate cuts could sustain demand for the dollar.
Central Bank Notes
The Federal Reserve maintained the Federal Funds Rate target range at 5.25% to 5.50%, emphasizing its commitment to achieving maximum employment and 2.0% inflation. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its cash rate target unchanged, citing high inflation.
Market Expectations for Other Currencies
After the RBA’s monetary policy statement, the Australian dollar (AUD) may experience potential short-term strength. However, softness in New Zealand’s labor market may exert downward pressure on the New Zealand dollar (NZD). The Japanese yen (JPY) faces continued pressure against the dollar, driven by demand and the Bank of Japan’s dovish monetary policy stance.
The euro (EUR) may weaken in Europe if Germany’s factory orders and Eurozone retail sales disappoint. Similarly, the British pound (GBP) could face headwinds if the U.K.’s construction PMI reveals a contraction. A stronger-than-expected Ivey PMI in Canada may cause the Canadian dollar (CAD) to appreciate.
Oil Market Dynamics
Global crude oil prices could climb higher amid escalating tensions in the Middle East and Russia following a drone attack on Russia’s largest oil refinery. However, prices remain sensitive to supply dynamics and geopolitical developments.
The market exhibits cautious optimism amid these developments, with a weak bullish bias for the next 24 hours.