Stronger Inflation Expectations, How Will US Dollar React?

The United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for January is anticipated to reveal an ascent in its month-by-month expansion. The US CPI data will be published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Tuesday, February 14, at 13:30 GMT.

The US Dollar (USD) has been rallying in recent days following a solid US jobs report, and this pattern will be tested with the result of the CPI data. The United States (US) inflation report will be published after the February Federal Reserve policy decision and could significantly impact the USD valuation.

Yearly, the CPI data is forecast to decline to 6.2% in January from December’s 6.5%. The Core CPI excludes volatile food and energy prices and is expected to edge lower to 5.5% from 5.7%. The CPI is rising monthly to 0.5% versus 0.1%.

Meanwhile, the Core CPI is likely to remain at 0.4%, the same number it posted for December after a late revision of the data. Investors will closely scrutinize the US CPI report, as it is the most influential macroeconomic indicator to measure consumer inflation, providing significant insights into the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy outlook.

ANZ economists agree with expectations of high inflation numbers and believe the Federal Reserve will stay on its tightening path:  “We expect US core CPI to have risen by 0.3% MoM in January, while higher energy prices should see headline CPI inflation up by 0.5%.

Fed guidance will likely remain hawkish until it gets a clearer picture that core services, excluding housing inflation and tightness in the labor market, are beginning to moderate. On a YoY basis, we expect January core CPI would result in core easing to 5.4% from 5.7% and headline to 6.2% from 6.5%.”

The Consumer Price Index data report is scheduled for release at 13:30 GMT on February 14. The monthly CPI data will draw more attention, as it will likely rebound and emerge as a cause for concern for the Federal Reserve. Additionally, the declining trend in the annualized inflation is not seen as a surprise after peaking out at 9.1% in June last year.

A softer-than-expected reading would reinforce market expectations that the Fed could pause its policy tightening after the first quarter, prompting fresh selling around the US Dollar. This, in turn, should allow the EUR/USD pair to initiate a meaningful recovery through the 1.0800 mark.

In contrast, a surprisingly hot US CPI print could strengthen expectations of more rate increases from the Fed and add legs to the ongoing US dollar recovery. The US CPI data will likely set the tone for markets in the coming weeks, in the lead-up to the February employment data and another CPI release before the March Fed policy meeting.

Nevertheless, any meaningful divergence from the expected readings should infuse some market volatility and allow traders to grab short-term opportunities around the EUR/USD pair. However, the 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) continues to hold below the midline, warranting caution for the Euro bulls.

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