Daily Afternoon Report 22.04.2015

Daily Afternoon Report 22.04.2015
The dollar remained broadly lower against a basket of other major currencies on Wednesday, as uncertainty over the timing of a U.S. rate hike continued to weigh on the greenback and investors eyed upcoming data on U.S. home sales. Sentiment on the greenback remained vulnerable as investors pushed back expectations for higher U.S. interest rates after a recent streak of soft economic data dampened optimism on the country’s recovery. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.08% to 98.12. EUR/USD was steady at 1.0738, pulling away from session highs of 1.0799. The euro remained under pressure as the Greek government was no closer to reaching an agreement with its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund over economic reforms required to access remaining bailout funds, fuelling fears that the country could be forced out of the euro zone. On Tuesday Bloomberg reported that the European Central Bank is considering tighter rules on Greek banks in return for emergency liquidity, adding to pressure on Athens. The pound was higher, with GBP/USD advancing 0.89% to 1.5064. Sterling found support after the minutes of the Bank of England’s latest monetary policy meeting showed that policymakers voted nine to zero in favor of keeping rates unchanged at a record low 0.5%, but the decision remained “finely balanced” for two officials. The central bank said it still expects that inflation could turn negative in the next couple of months, having been flat in February and March. However it noted that the stronger pound could have had a more rapid than expected effect on inflation, indicating that inflation could recover more strongly when temporary downward pressures on prices eased.
Elsewhere, the dollar was steady against the yen, with USD/JPY at 119.61 and turned higher against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF climbing 0.75% to 0.9519. The Australian dollar was sharply higher, with AUD/USD rallying 0.95% to 0.7783 after the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that consumer prices rose 0.2% in the first quarter, in line with expectations and after a 0.2% uptick in the three months to December. Year-on-year, Australian consumer prices rose 1.3% in the three months to March, in line with market expectations and after an increase of 1.7% in the last quarter of 2014. A separate report showed that Australia’s trimmed mean consumer price index, which excludes the most volatile 30% of items, rose at an annualized rate of 2.3% in the first quarter, exceeding expectations for a 2.2% increase. Meanwhile, NZD/USD gained 0.53% to 0.7713 and USD/CAD slid 0.28% to trade at 1.2246. Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on existing home sales.

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