News & Analyses

EUR/USD stays above 1.0700 as Fed still sees rate cuts this year

  • EUR/USD trades sideways above 1.0700 as firm ECB rate cut prospects for June offset the Fed’s less-hawkish guidance.
  • The ECB is expected to pivot to interest rate cuts in June as Eurozone inflation is on course to the 2% path.
  • Fed Powell remains hopeful of rate cuts later this year.

EUR/USD is stuck in a tight range above the round-level support of 1.0700 in Thursday’s European session. The upside in the major currency pair remains restricted around 1.0736 this week as the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to start lowering its key borrowing rates from the June meeting, while the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) slightly less-hawkish guidance on interest rates has supported the downside.

April’s preliminary inflation readings for the Eurozone showed that annual headline inflation grew steadily by 2.4%. In the same period, the core Consumer Price Index (CPI), which excludes volatile food and energy prices, decelerated to 2.7% from 2.9% in March. Although investors forecasted a sharper decline to 2.6%, the data signalled that Eurozone inflation is on course to return to the desired rate of 2%. Therefore, ECB policymakers remain committed to reducing its Main Refinancing Operations Rate from June. 

Meanwhile, ECB policymakers are divided about whether the central bank should extend the rate-cut cycle to policy meetings beyond June. Currently, financial markets speculate that the ECB will cut interest rates three times this year.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the US Dollar is under pressure as the Fed remains optimistic about approaching quantitative easing this year despite acknowledging that progress in reducing inflation to 2% has stalled.

Daily digest market movers: EUR/USD consolidates while US Dollar strives for firm footing

  • EUR/USD consolidates in a tight range above the crucial support of 1.0700. The major currency pair fell sharply on Wednesday amid caution before the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement. However, it recovered strongly after the Fed’s guidance on interest rates turned out less hawkish than feared.
  • Fed’s decision to hold interest rates steady in the range of 5.25%-5.50% for the sixth time in a row was no surprise for investors but its commentary showed that it is eager to shift to a neutral stance from a hawkish one. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in his press conference after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that he still sees interest rates lower this year even though stalling progress in the disinflation process has hit his confidence.
  • A sharp decline in the scale of balance sheet tapering was another indication of the central bank’s intention to pivot to quantitative easing gradually. The Fed said that starting on June 1, it will reduce the cap on Treasury securities it allows to mature and not be replaced to $25 billion from its current cap of up to $60 billion per month, Reuters reported. 
  • This announcement and wording put significant pressure on the US Dollar. The US Dollar Index (DXY), which tracks the US Dollar’s value against six major currencies, is slightly up to 105.75 but has come down significantly from a two-week high of 106.50. The volatility in the US Dollar is expected to remain high as investors await the United States Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) and the ISM Services PMI data for April, which will be published on Friday. The US NFP is estimated to have grown by 243K, lower than the 303K job additions registered in March. The ISM agency is expected to show a rise in the Services PMI to 52.0 from 51.4 in March.

Technical Analysis: EUR/USD exhibits volatile contraction above 1.0700

EUR/USD trades inside Wednesday’s trading range. The upside in the major currency pair is capped near 1.0735 as the ECB is expected to start lowering interest rates sooner than the Fed. The near-term outlook of the shared currency pair is uncertain as the 20-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA) at 1.0720 continues to be a major barrier for Euro bulls. 

On a daily time frame, EUR/USD exhibits a sharp volatility contraction as it forms a Symmetrical Triangle pattern. The upward-sloping border of the triangle pattern is plotted from October 3 low at 1.0448 and the downward-sloping border is placed from December 28 high around 1.1140.

The 14-period Relative Strength Index (RSI) shifts into the 40.00 to 60.00 range, suggesting indecisiveness among market participants.

Euro FAQs

The Euro is the currency for the 20 European Union countries that belong to the Eurozone. It is the second most heavily traded currency in the world behind the US Dollar. In 2022, it accounted for 31% of all foreign exchange transactions, with an average daily turnover of over $2.2 trillion a day. EUR/USD is the most heavily traded currency pair in the world, accounting for an estimated 30% off all transactions, followed by EUR/JPY (4%), EUR/GBP (3%) and EUR/AUD (2%).

The European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany, is the reserve bank for the Eurozone. The ECB sets interest rates and manages monetary policy. The ECB’s primary mandate is to maintain price stability, which means either controlling inflation or stimulating growth. Its primary tool is the raising or lowering of interest rates. Relatively high interest rates – or the expectation of higher rates – will usually benefit the Euro and vice versa. The ECB Governing Council makes monetary policy decisions at meetings held eight times a year. Decisions are made by heads of the Eurozone national banks and six permanent members, including the President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde.

Eurozone inflation data, measured by the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), is an important econometric for the Euro. If inflation rises more than expected, especially if above the ECB’s 2% target, it obliges the ECB to raise interest rates to bring it back under control. Relatively high interest rates compared to its counterparts will usually benefit the Euro, as it makes the region more attractive as a place for global investors to park their money.

Data releases gauge the health of the economy and can impact on the Euro. Indicators such as GDP, Manufacturing and Services PMIs, employment, and consumer sentiment surveys can all influence the direction of the single currency. A strong economy is good for the Euro. Not only does it attract more foreign investment but it may encourage the ECB to put up interest rates, which will directly strengthen the Euro. Otherwise, if economic data is weak, the Euro is likely to fall. Economic data for the four largest economies in the euro area (Germany, France, Italy and Spain) are especially significant, as they account for 75% of the Eurozone’s economy.

Another significant data release for the Euro is the Trade Balance. This indicator measures the difference between what a country earns from its exports and what it spends on imports over a given period. If a country produces highly sought after exports then its currency will gain in value purely from the extra demand created from foreign buyers seeking to purchase these goods. Therefore, a positive net Trade Balance strengthens a currency and vice versa for a negative balance.


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