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THE US dollar’s woes continued, trading near multi-week lows with shocking US real gross domestic product (GDP) revisions. The finalised US real GDP was further revised lower to an annualised contraction of 2.9% in Q1 2014 – the largest decline in five years – from minus 1% reported last month and compared with 2.6% in Q4 2013 due to harsh weather in the early part of the year.
AS widely expected, the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to taper the size of its monthly asset purchases by another US$10bil. The committee announced that it will now purchase US$55bil in assets each month – US$25bil in mortgage-backed securities (down from US$30bil) and US$30bil in Treasury debt (down from US$35bil) beginning in April.
THE US dollar weakened against broad currencies as the FOMC remained on hold with cautious US data added to the tone. The Fed funds rate was left on hold and the “dot plot” projections were lowered by 25 basis points across the board. However, the Fed is still keen on imminently lifting the fed funds rate, with Yellen specifically mentioning that October was a possibility and that they expected to start hiking this year.
POSITIVE vibes continue to emerge from Wall Street. The US dollar index continued to head higher as the US equities reached its highest since 2007. The better-than-expected US jobs report, the spending cuts under sequestration, continued selling of Japanese Yen and downward pressure on the euro were the added drivers.