US Dollar eases further with Chicago Fed Activity Index contracting

May 23, 2024

NEW YORK (May 23) The US Dollar (USD) is in the red after in Asian trading being in the green when it had gained momentum after the release of the US Federal Reserve (Fed) Minutes overnight, which frightened markets after several concerns were communicated on inflation by Fed officials in the paper. Markets got scared and started to head into safe havens like the Greenback. Although Nvidia earnings pushed the Nasdaq higher, a general wave of Risk On was not rippling through markets where even the Chinese semiconductor index crashed 2% in the Asia-Pacific session. 

On the economic data front, a very packed agenda where markets can again revalue currencies next to each other with both European, United Kingdom’s and US Purchase Manager Index numbers for May. This will give traders a base of comparison and might see these currencies move against each other higher or lower. Besides that, weekly Jobless numbers and some Fed Activity indicators could add fuel to the fire. 

Daily digest market movers: Chicago overshadows Jobless print

  • German Services Purchase Managers Index (PMI) surprised with an upbeat release of 53.9 against 53.2 for April, where 53.5 was expected for May.  The move is particularly supportive for the Euro with Germany being labelled ‘the sick man in Europe’ these past few months.
  • French Services PMI stole a bit of the boost from Germany’s outperformance, because it fell back into contraction from April’s 51.3 to 49.4 against an expected 51.7 for May. 
  • The US data has started with a mixture of data:
    • Chicago Fed National Activity Index for April was a downbeat release on all fronts: The March number got revised from 0.15 to -0.04 while the actual April number sinks lower to -0.23.
    • The weekly Jobless Claims have been released as well:
      • Initial Jobless Claims went from 223,000 to 215,000. 
      • Continuing Jobless Claims ticked up from 1.786 million to 1.794 million.
  • The S&P Global preliminary PMI release for May is expected near 13:45 GMT:
    • Manufacturing PMI should remain stable at 50.
    • Services PMI should remain stable as well at 51.3.
    • The Composite should ease a touch from 51.3 in the final April’s reading to 51.1.
  • Near 14:00 GMT, New Home Sales are expected to ease a touch from 0.693 million to 0.680 million for April. 
  • The Kansas Fed Manufacturing Activity for May will come out at 15:00 GMT. The previous number was at -13, no consensus available. 
  • To close off this Thursday, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic participates in a Q&A session with students in a MBA macroeconomic class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business near 19:00 GMT.
  • European equities are mildly in the green while US equity futures are advancing with the Nasdaq up 1% pre-market.
  • The CME Fedwatch Tool is pricing 95.8% for no change in the policy rate for June. September futures are now seeing a 49.7% chance for a 25-basis-points cut. 
  • The benchmark 10-year US Treasury Note trades around 4.43%, easing a touch.


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