By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – The U.S. dollar edged higher Thursday, benefiting from a degree of risk aversion after disappointing results from Facebook (NASDAQ:) owner Meta, but the focus will be on central bank meetings in the U.K. and Europe.
At 2:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, edged 0.2% higher to 96.095.
The dollar, seen as a safe haven in times of stress, has received some support after Meta Platforms reported disappointing earnings and a weak outlook, prompting a selloff in tech and social media stocks.
Risk-sensitive currencies, like the Australian and New Zealand dollars, struggled, with down 0.2% to 0.7119 and 0.1% lower at 0.6622.
The is up just 0.5% this year so far, having climbed nearly 7% in 2021, its best performance since 2015, as the Federal Reserve was seen as one of the first major central banks to rein in its accommodative monetary policy as inflation soared.
A Reuters poll of strategists found that the U.S. dollar is expected to reign supreme for at least another 3-6 months, but it will take a significant change in market expectations for Federal Reserve rate hikes to push it higher.
Away from the Fed, policy decisions from the and are due at 7 AM ET (1200 GMT) and 7:45 AM ET respectively, and a news conference with ECB President Christine Lagarde is scheduled at 8 AM ET.
fell 0.2% to 1.3550, ahead of the Bank of England meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to deliver the first back-to-back interest-rate increase since 2004, after a 15 basis-point hike in December, with inflation at a three-decade high.
“Presumably the inflation forecast will be revised a lot higher and the market will be interested in reading whether the BoE still feels CPI will be above the 2% target in 2-3 years’ time – even with all the tightening priced in,” said anal;ysts at ING, in a note.
Inflation is also an issue in the Eurozone after data released on Wednesday showed unexpectedly surged by a record 5.1% in January, more than double the ECB’s 2% target.
The ECB isn’t expected to move at this meeting, but investors will carefully listen to Lagarde’s press conference for any signs of hawkishness, particularly with the Fed and the BOE now talking tough.
Elsewhere, rose 0.1% to 114.59 after Japan’s services sector activity contracted at the fastest pace in five months in January, with the falling to 47.6 from the prior month’s 52.1 and a 48.8 flash reading.
The world’s third-largest economy has seen Covid-19 cases surge in recent weeks, forcing the government to roll out tougher curbs across much of the country.
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