The latest Fed minutes sum up the conundrum for the market nicely when it comes to understanding what the approach to the USD and Fed policy is. The Fed minutes show that no Fed participants see a rate cut appropriate for 2023. However, Fed fund futures expected 2 rate cuts at the start of the year. So, the market is fighting the Fed on the way down. The general rule of thumb is ‘never fight the Fed’.
Last week saw some very good labour data. Layoff fell from over 75k down to -45K, ADP employment rise to 235K vs an expected 150k, and initial jobless claims were lower to 204K and the prior was revised lower too. So, with a very strong labour market, the Fed will feel the need to do more or at least to maintain its hawkish stance which it revealed in the minutes, aka, ‘no cuts for 2023’.
So, now inflation data takes the plate. The Fed has taken some gentle encouragement from the last two falls in CPI, so a big surprise to the upside here will worry the Fed and make them dig into the ‘no rate cute in 2023’ narrative.
The expectations are for core inflation to fall to 5.9% from 6%.
Headline inflation is expected to drop as well to 6.9% from 7.1%.
The way the market will react to this data point is most likely to be as follows. A strong inflation reading that comes in above 7.2% for the headline and above 6.3% for the core will show market participants that the Fed still has more to do in terms of hiking rates. If we get a big surprise next week, with inflation surging higher, then expect a possible USD strength and EURUSD weakness as an instant reaction for day traders.