© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknote is seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Caroline Valetkevitch and Alun John
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar rose on Thursday, extending its gains from the previous day as investors looked ahead to Friday’s key U.S. payrolls report for signs of softness that could signal slowing U.S. rate hikes and possibly a weakening in the greenback after this year’s sharp rally.
The euro was down 0.5% to $0.9841, falling a little after the release of European Central Bank minutes from last month’s meeting that showed policymakers were worried that inflation could get stuck at exceptionally high levels.
Separately, a source told Reuters on Thursday, citing provisional figures, that the German government expects Europe’s largest economy to slide into recession next year, contracting 0.4% as an energy crisis, rising prices and supply bottlenecks take their toll.
Sterling was down 1.1%, while the dollar was slightly higher versus the Japanese yen and Swiss franc.
Currency markets have struggled to find a clear direction this week, following a dramatic third quarter. The dollar initially slid against most majors, before regaining ground.
A measuring the greenback against a basket of currencies was 0.4% higher, and remains up about 17% for the year so far.
“It’s the calm before the storm – the non-farm payrolls storm,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.
“Everyone knows the Fed has been consistent with their messaging. The Fed is not done bringing down inflation, and they are locked into this aggressive rate-hiking campaign that will only change once we start to see inflation come down. That will obviously come along with a deterioration in the labor market and all of these key economic readings we follow.”
A major factor driving currency markets currently has been changing expectations of how aggressively central banks’ – particularly the Federal Reserve – will raise interest rates.
A key question is whether policymakers will pivot from primarily worrying about inflation to also considering slowing economic growth, and possibly leading to more cautious interest rate hikes.
U.S. inflation data next week will be closely watched.
Data Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased by the most in four months last week, though some of the larger-than-expected jump in jobless claims reported by the Labor Department was partially blamed on Hurricane Fiona.
U.S benchmark Treasury yields whose recent gains had helped drive the greenback higher, were up slightly.
The Australian dollar was down 1% at $0.6430, still struggling after an unexpectedly modest 25 basis point hike in Australia.
Investors have also been paying close attention to oil prices and news that OPEC+ agreed to tighten global crude supply with a deal to cut production targets by 2 million barrel per day (bpd), the largest reduction since 2020. Oil prices were holding near three-week highs.
The dollar was up 0.7% against the Canadian dollar.
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