The U.S. dollar soared after Friday’s non-farm payrolls report came in better-than-expected with 390k jobs in May. Strong hiring suggests that the Federal Reserve will continue the pace of steep interest rate hikes to combat price pressures. As for U.S. inflation, the next focus is May consumer prices due for release on Friday.
The European central bank is next in turning the tide from an accommodative monetary policy to a tight monetary policy. The ECB will this Thursday announce an end to bond purchases and will formally begin the countdown to interest rate increases.
Historic ECB rate hike in October? The pressure on the ECB is rising
Traders have increased their bets that the European Central Bank will deliver the biggest interest rate increase in two decades at their December or even sooner at their October meeting. What has been elusive just a few months ago will now become a reality. Soaring inflation exerts pressure on policy makers to act sooner rather than later. High inflation, that has surprised even policy makers, is proving more persistent than earlier thought.
While the door is not totally shut for a 50bp move in July, it would be quite surprising for the ECB to start its hiking cycle with such a big step. Market participants expect quarter-point hikes in July, September and December, but chances of an earlier half-point rate hike in September or October have grown.
According to ECB President Christine Lagarde, the central bank will end bond purchases in June, and hike once in July and once in September, lifting the deposit rate from minus 0.5% up to zero.
However, apart from rate hike cycles, the decisive aspect is whether rising inflation can be brought under control by central banks without generating a recession at the end.
We expect higher volatility in the EUR/USD around the risk event on Thursday. For the next days it will be interesting whether the euro remains trading between 1.08 and 1.06. If speculations on bigger ECB rate hikes increase, euro bulls may try to test a break above 1.0810 with a next target at 1.09. If 1.06 breaks however to the downside, we expect the pair to drop toward 1.05 in a next move.
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