The first half of January has shown a dislocation between rate expectations and data in the US. The two most important data points for the Federal Reserve, labour and CPI inflation figures, both came in hotter than expected. PPI was a bit softer than consensus on Friday, but that is not enough to justify markets’ reluctance to price out Fed easing. The Fed funds future curve prices in 21bp of cuts in March, and 168bp by year-end.

Our view remains that the Fed won’t start cutting before May, and that the total easing package will be 150bp. Accordingly, the rally in short-term USD rates appears overdone, and weakness in the front part of the USD curve should support some recovery in the dollar. However, we suspect that the data may prove insufficient to trigger a USD rebound for now; the consensus view of a dollar decline later this year seems to be making investors keen to sell dollar rallies. Also, the Fed probably needs to send a clearer message that the latest data does not justify the kind of aggressively dovish view embedded in money market pricing. There are a few more Fed speakers lined up this week, but perhaps dollar bears will want to hear it from Fed Chief Jerome Powell, who is not scheduled to speak until the 31 January FOMC announcement.

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