US Treasury bond yields are consolidating their recent move higher ahead of Friday’s Non-Farm Payrolls report. Recent hawkish commentary from Fed chair Jerome Powell to US lawmakers sent the yield on the rate-sensitive 2-year UST to a fresh one-and-a-half decade high (5.085%) as Powell doubled down on his higher-for-longer rhetoric.
While backing higher rates, Chairman Powell continues to say that all rate decisions will be based on the totality of data, leaving himself a little wiggle room if the outlook for the US economy turns lower. Financial markets are now pricing a 76% probability of a 50 basis point hike at this month’s FOMC meeting, up from around 25% last week.
Friday’s Jobs Report will be closely followed to gauge the strength of hiring in the US. Last month’s release saw 517k new jobs created, a massive beat on market expectations, albeit with the data boosted by seasonal adjustments. The market forecasts 210k new jobs in February and an unchanged unemployment rate of 3.4%. That said, market forecasts for new jobs have been exceeded in the last 10 reports, some by a fair margin. On July 22, the actual number of 372k was over 100k higher than the market forecast. On August 22, the 528k actual was over double expectations, while last month 517k was 330k above market expectations. A further heavy beat will increase the US dollar going into the weekend.
The US dollar is currently in the middle of a tight range, consolidating its recent move higher. Tuesday’s bullish candle, post-chair Powell’s testimony, reversed a short-term sell-off and sent the greenback to a multi-week high. The next level of resistance, the 200-DMA, is around 125 pips away and is likely to hold unless the NFP numbers beat by a hefty margin. The CCI indicator at the bottom of the chart shows the greenback back in overbought territory.