US Dollar Higher Ahead Of Jackson Hole Symposium

EURUSDAug20d

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi are both due to speak at the conference and may shed some light on the outlook for monetary policy.

It originated as a deeply technical event, rather than a forum for central bankers to share their thoughts on the state of the economy with the world's investors and media, although it has evolved into that.

Though bets on a Fed policy change have been reduced in recent days given the general USA political turmoil, expectations of a Fed hike may rise if Chair Janet Yellen emphasizes on Friday that the risks to inflation goals and financial stability require careful monitoring.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices edged higher by 0.14% to around 51.77 U.S. dollars per barrel as investors waited for inventory data out of the US.

Ms Yellen's two immediate predecessors, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, both used Jackson Hole to indicate at future shifts in policy and, since the financial crisis, this has become more common.

As per the latest commitment of traders (or COT) report released on August 18 by the Chicago Futures Trading Commission (or CFTC), large speculators and traders have reduced their bearish positions on the U.S. dollar for the first time in eight weeks.

Under Draghi, the European Central Bank has pumped more than 2 trillion euros ($2.35 trillion) into the global financial system.

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Gold stocks showed a significant move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index climbing by 1.7 percent.

On currency markets, Turkey's lira and South Africa's rand fell sharply, not only against a broadly stronger euro but also the dollar.

Gold will be an interesting asset class in the weeks ahead - the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) gold contract was trading 1.5 per cent higher in August and supported by the risk off mood driving markets in the past two weeks. About $45 billion of euro-dollar currency options will expire in the three days leading up to Jackson Hole.

"Following Draghi's Sintra speech, we argued that the USA will have to lead any further move in rates". If they come in even lower than expected, the Euro could weaken.

"We have certainly noticed the stock market is up considerably over the past year", she said. Despite warnings on Euro strength from the European Central Bank (ECB) and strong United Kingdom job market data in recent sessions, the Pound to Euro exchange rate has remained weak. Earlier expectations coming into the conference was for a historic announcement signaling the end of the ECB's €60 billion ($70.87 billion) bond-buying by the end of the year.

New Home Sales in July are forecast to show a 610k rise the same as they did in June, and a 0.8% rise month-on-month. The downtrend this year remains firmly in place, with August's trading pattern resembling more of a consolidation phase than a significant rebound.

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