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Dollar Fluctuates as Investors Recalibrate Positions After Fed

22 September 2017

The prospect of higher interest rates sent several United Kingdom banking shares up, after the Federal Reserve signalled an end to its historic quantitative easing plan and that it would continue with planned rate rises.

The Fed also left rates unchanged but penciled in one more rate hike before the end of the year.

The crown was up 0.4 percent at 9.314 per euro and 0.7 percent firmer against the dollar at 7.82 crowns.

Stocks turned lower after the announcement before finishing mixed. But the Fed Chair still doesn't have a definitive answer when it comes to inflation or raising rates. U.S. crude oil stockpiles jumped last week as imports and production increased, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, as operations resumed from the impact of Hurricane Harvey which hit the Gulf Coast on August 25.On Monday, the loonie touched its weakest in almost two weeks at C$1.2338 after a Bank of Canada policymaker said the currency's strength will be a factor in future interest rate decisions.

"A lot of people were thinking (the Fed) would pass in December", Silvia said.

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INVESTOR INSIGHT: "The Fed's seemingly hawkish views on sustained lift-off in US interest rates may be seen as a form of pressure for regional equities and could dampen prices today", said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

But Fed Chair Janet Yellen was clear that those forecasts are not etched in stone.

Inflation is expected to remain under the Fed's 2 percent target through next year before hitting it in 2019.

However, she cautioned, "The fact that inflation is unusually low this year does not mean that that's going to continue".

"Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have devastated many communities, inflicting severe hardship", the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement on Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. But it said history suggests that the storms were unlikely to affect the national economy over the long run.

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The central bank confirmed, as expected, that it would start trimming the $US4.5 trillion balance sheet it built up after the Great Recession. While job growth remains strong, wage growth is modest and inflation weakened in recent months.

"The Fed had investors on edge already".

Markets expect the Fed move will in December when it is due to revise its economic projections. If that were to happen, long-term rates might surge undesirably high, which could weigh on the economy.

"The Fed's balance sheet will finally be turning a corner". But 12-month inflation is expected to remain below the Fed's 2 per cent goal in the near term, stabilising at the target rate only in the medium term.

Wall Street expectations for a further rate-increase jumped to about 73% probability in December, compared with 52% chance last week, CME Group data show. The median prediction is now that the benchmark rate will stabilize at 2.8 percent, down from a median estimate of 3 percent in June. "The market is interpreting the Fed as slightly hawkish but not too much". The U.S. Federal Reserve will resume rate hikes in December and raise borrowing costs three more times in 2018, a Reuters poll found on September 20. And even though the economy is performing the way Trump expects it to perform, the Feds plan to raise interest rates three more times in 2018.

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At her news conference, Yellen declined to say whether she would like to serve a second term. The stock was the biggest drag on the three major indexes.