Dollar Muted as Safe-Haven Demand Fades on Stimulus Hopes

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

The dollar was largely unchanged Wednesday as demand for the safe-haven fell on renewed stimulus hopes, while the release of the Fed's minutes showed policy members backed the continuation of low rates. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell by 0.07% to 92.92.

Hopes for stimulus were restored somewhat after President Donald Trump said he was ready to sign off on piecemeal measures, including support for individuals, small businesses and airlines.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting, meanwhile, showed the members generally agreed that the central bank should no rush to raise rates and also reiterated the importance of additional stimulus. "[P]articipants reaffirmed that they were committed to using the Federal Reserve's full range of tools in order to support the U.S. economy during this challenging time, thereby promoting the Committee's statutory goals of maximum employment and price stability," the minutes noted. A lack of further stimulus from Congress risked slowing the pace of the recovery, Fed members said in the monetary policy meeting, according to the minutes. "The staff's forecast assumed the enactment of some additional fiscal policy support this year; without that additional policy action, the pace of the economic recovery would likely be slower."

Some members, however, appeared wary of allowing inflation to run above target for a period of time, saying it could limit the Fed's flexibility on policy.

There did appear to be some debate among members on whether the economy should be allowed to run hot even if inflation and unemployment meet the central bank's target.

"These participants were concerned that forward guidance that involved the target range for the federal funds rate remaining at the ELB until employment and inflation criteria were achieved could limit the Committee's flexibility for years," the minutes noted.

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