The Aussie rebounded on Wednesday in Asia after consumer prices gained more than expected in the fourth quarter while investors await the results of the Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the day.
In Australia, the MI Leading Index fell 0.3% month-on-month for January, the same pace as the previous month.
Also in Australia, CPI showed a 0.4% rise quarter-on-quarter, above the 0.3% gain seen, and rose 1.7% year-on-year, also above the 1.6% expected. The trimmed mean rose 2.1% and the weighted mean gained 1.9%, both year-on-year. At the same time, the December NAB Business Confidence survey came in at plus-3, down from the previous plus-5, and the NAB Business Survey came in at plus-7, from plus-10.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was quoted down 0.01% to 99.06.
Overnight, the dollar held steady against the other major currencies on Tuesday, even after the release of upbeat U.S. consumer confidence as investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy statement on Wednesday for further signals on the U.S. central bank’s path over the next 18 months, as it embarks on its first tightening cycle in more than a decade. The interest rate decision will be the FOMC’s first since it voted unanimously to abandon a seven-year Zero Interest Rate Policy at a historic meeting in December.
The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence rose to 98.1 this month from a reading of 96.3 in December, whose figure was revised from a previously reported 96.5. Analysts expected the index to rise to 96.5 in January.
The Fed is expected to keep interest rate on hold at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday after raising interest rates for the first time in almost a decade in December.
Investors were looking to the Fed policy statement for any indication that the bank is considering slowing the path of interest rate increases this year after recent global financial market turmoil.
Market participants were also cautious ahead of the conclusion of the Bank of Japan’s meeting on Friday.
Most analysts are expecting no changes to monetary policy, but recent weakness in economic reports, as well as comments by central bank officials have fueled expectations for more easing this year.