Daily Morning Report 17.12.2015

EUR/USD fell mildly on Wednesday reversing territory late in the session, after the Federal Reserve met market expectations by approving its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade.

With the minor losses, the euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar in a week. The dollar is up slightly against the euro since plunging by more than 3% on December 3 after the European Central Bank rattled global foreign exchange markets by only implementing limited easing measures to its comprehensive asset-purchasing program.

In a unanimous decision, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), lifted its benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 25 basis points to a range between 0.25 and 0.50%. Before Wednesday’s decision, the FOMC had held short-term interest rates at near zero levels for 56 consecutive meetings, a streak which dated back to December, 2008. In making its decision, the FOMC judged that it has seen considerable improvements in labor market conditions while it is reasonably confident that inflation will rise over its 2% objective over the next several years. The FOMC lowered short-term rates to a zero-bound range seven years ago in an effort to stimulate the economy months after the start of the Financial Crisis.

“This action marks the end of an extraordinary seven-year period during which the federal funds rate was held near zero to support the recovery of the economy from the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression,” Fed chair Janet Yellen said at a press conference in Washington

Although Yellen continued to express concern with the current pace of inflation, she reiterated that she expects temporary factors restraining price increases to abate when crashing oil prices stabilize and stronger dollar levels off. The dollar opened on Wednesday up by approximately 8% against a basket of major currencies. A rate hike is largely viewed as bullish for the dollar, as investors pile into the greenback in order to capitalize on higher yields.

Despite instituting moderate easing measures at its Governing Council meeting earlier this month, the ECB cut rates on overnight deposits further into negative territory at minus 0.3%. While Yellen said Wednesday that she doesn’t think it will be a tool that the Fed will need to use in the near future, she did not discount the possibility of studying its effects.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, surged by more than 0.80% to settle at 98.29. Yellen also noted that although a number of countries throughout the world have suffered slowing growth due to the rout in commodity prices, she added that the Fed has seen a rebound in Emerging Markets of late. On Wednesday, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (N:EEM) ETF gained 0.65 or 2% to 33.20.

Yields on the U.S. 10-Year inched up one basis point to 2.28%, while yields on the {{23693|Germany 10-Year} }rose four basis points to 0.68%.