EUR/USD rises moderately in cautious trade, ahead of key Fed decision

eb28255469f634cffa43aff0bab7d89c.jpg — posted modest gains on Friday erasing some of its losses from the previous session, as currency traders continued to await a likely interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve at its two-day meeting next week.

The currency pair traded between 1.0927 and 1.1031 before settling at 1.0994, up 0.0053 or 0.49% on the session. After surging by more than 3% in last Thursday’s session, EUR/USD has been relatively flat in the six subsequent trading days, moving only percentage points higher. Earlier this week, the euro jumped to one-month highs against the dollar as the aftershocks of a surprising move by the European Central Bank continued to be felt. On December 3, the ECB’s Governing Council spooked foreign exchange markets worldwide by only tweaking its comprehensive bond buying program on a limited basis. Many analysts expected ECB president Mario Draghi to introduce widespread easing measures at the meeting in an effort to stave off the risks of deflation.

EUR/USD likely gained support at 1.0549, the low from Dec. 2 and was met with resistance at 1.1041, the high from Dec. 9.

At next week’s closely watched two-day meeting, the FOMC is expected to lift the target range on its benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 25 basis points to 0.25-0.50%. The Fed Funds Rate, the rate which institutions offer on interbank loans at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has remained at near-zero levels for nearly seven years since December, 2008. Almost a decade has passed since the Fed last raised the rate at a meeting in June, 2006.

On Friday, the CME Group’s (O:) FedWatch placed the probability of a quarter-point hike on Dec. 16 at 81.4%, up from a level which hovered in the 70s before last week’s relatively optimistic U.S. jobs report. The U.S. economy added 211,000 in November, while the remained unchanged at 5.0%. For the year, the labor market has averaged job gains of at least 200,000 a month, far above the 100,000 threshold set by Fed chair Janet Yellen for the next year.

Yellen has continually downplayed the significance of lift-off, placing more importance on the gradual path of rate increases as the Fed normalizes monetary policy. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that FOMC members may struggle to form a consensus on the language in Wednesday’s statement regarding the pace of tightening. In September, the FOMC projected that the Fed Funds Rate would reach 1.4% in 2016 and 2.6% in 2017, according to its median forecasts.

An upward move by the Fed is viewed as bullish for the dollar, as foreign investors pile into the greenback to take advantage of higher yields.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Commerce said in November increased by 0.6%, following a 0.2% increase a month earlier. The core figure strips out volatile categories such as gasoline, automobile and food sales. Separately, the Labor Department said its increased by 0.3% in November, following a 0.4% decline a month earlier. The data could provide the retail industry with momentum for the final weeks of the Holiday season.

In Germany, the nation’s federal statistics bureau reported that its in November ticked up 0.4%, following a 0.3% increase a month earlier. Inflation in the largest economy in the euro zone was boosted by higher costs for food and rent.

The , which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, fell by more than 0.30% to an intraday low of 97.32 before closing at 97.57. Since reaching a 12-month high at 100.60 last week, the index is down by roughly 2.5%.

by Investing