January 23, 2023

Daily Report 23/01/2023

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Sterling continued to lose ground after Friday’s UK retail sales report but did find support as the dollar failed to make significant headway. There were also still expectations that the Bank of England would adopt a hawkish policy stance to curb inflation which helped underpin the UK currency. CFTC data recorded a small decline in short Sterling positions to just below 25,000 from 29,500 the previous week. Overall risk appetite held steady on Monday which helped underpin the UK currency and Sterling touched 1-month highs before a limited correction. Markets will continue to monitor any comments from Bank of England officials ahead of next week’s policy decision.

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ECB President Lagarde stated that staying the course on inflation is her mantra on monetary policy. Hawkish ECB rhetoric and a fragile dollar allowed the Euro to strengthen. Over the weekend, ECB council member Knot stated that he expects 50 basis-point rate hikes in both February and March. He added that rate hikes were also likely to follow in May and June which could take rates to near 4.00%. ECB council member Holzmann stated that he favours multiple rate hikes of 50 basis points at least in the first half of 2023 and that it could take 2-3 years or even longer to bring inflation down to target.

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17.45 Christine Lagarde Speech

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The Wall Street Journal suggested that the Fed is preparing for a 25 basis-point rate hike for February and there will be a further debate on when to pause rate hikes. Kansas City Fed President George stated that it is encouraging to see inflation coming down, but the Fed has to be a little more patient in assessing if inflation is on a sustainable path. Fed Governor Waller stated that some progress had been made on inflation, but there is a considerable way to go towards the 2% target. He added that he favoured a 25 basis-point rate hike at the February meeting followed by additional tightening. He sees encouraging signs of wages moderation, but more evidence of slowing is needed. He also stated that the Fed will need to keep rates high for longer rather than cut them by the end of the year. He warned that the Fed will need to do a lot more if financial conditions loosen and inflation takes off again, but if the Fed is wrong it will be much easier to cut rates.

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