The dollar looks to be trading in a supported fashion. This year’s backup in short-term rates has reined in some of the pro-risk sentiment that dominated markets late last year. This backup in rates has largely been driven by central bankers saying they are in no rush to cut rates. After the informal commentary seen over recent weeks, this week will start to see the formal communication as central banks meet in Japan (Tuesday), Canada (Wednesday), and the eurozone and Norway (Thursday).

Like many, we think the earthquake in Japan makes it too early for the Bank of Japan (BoJ) to unwind its Yield Curve Control this week. In fact, there have been surprisingly few source stories ahead of this particular meeting, even though we will see a crucial set of new forecasts for prices and activity. Assuming the BoJ springs no surprise, USD/JPY should continue to hover around 148.

For the dollar this week, our macro team forecasts above-consensus fourth quarter GDP on Thursday. This could see the market further pare back Federal Reserve easing expectations this year. The market currently attaches a 43% chance of a cut in March and an easing cycle this year now worth 115bp. An interesting aside. Some US banks are proponents of the March Fed cut because the Fed will probably not be renewing its Bank Term Funding Programme in early March. Currently, it seems that some US banks are using the facility to borrow cheaply (4.87% p.a.) and park money at the Fed (5.30%). The thinking goes that a rate cut in March could smooth funding conditions for the regional banks. We do not subscribe to this view and maintain a call for the first rate cut in May.

Beyond the US GDP data this week, Friday sees December personal consumption data, where the deflator is again seen at 0.2% month-on-month. This could deliver a benign end to the week.

In all, we would say it looks like a range-bound week for the dollar where DXY could trade out something like a 103-104 range. That will continue to see the market interested in carry, and we note that the Turkish lira and the Indian rupee have still managed to deliver year-to-date total positive returns against the dollar – in a broadly bid dollar environment.

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