Dollar edges up ahead of inflation reading

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The dollar edged up ahead of the key U.S. inflation report due later on Wednesday, while the euro fell from a one-week high in the previous session with traders cautious ahead of an expected European Central Bank rate hike on Thursday.

The dollar index , which tracks the currency against six peers including yen, euro and sterling, held firm, though moves were subdued, up 0.1% to 104.70, as traders awaited the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) reading for August. The release comes just a week before Federal Reserve officials gather to decide on interest rate policy.

The consumer price index likely increased by 0.6% last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would be the largest gain since June 2022 and would follow two straight monthly advances of 0.2%.

The central bank is largely expected to keep rates on hold at next week’s meeting, according to CME’s FedWatch Tool. The Fed’s next move in November remains more uncertain.

“If inflation were to be within the framework of expectations or even come in slightly below that, those who expect the Fed to have reached the end of the rate cut cycle are likely to feel confirmed,” said You-Na Park-Heger, FX analyst at Commerzbank.

Elsewhere, the euro edged 0.1% lower to $1.0742 ahead of the ECB meeting on Thursday.

Markets have raised their bets on further rate hikes and are now pricing in a 53% chance of a 25 basis point move this week.

A source told Reuters that the ECB expects inflation in the 20-nation euro zone to remain above 3% next year, bolstering the case for a 10th consecutive interest rate increase on Thursday.

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“With fresh signs of inflationary pressures, investors also moved to price in a growing chance that the ECB would in fact go ahead with another hike tomorrow,” said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Sterling slipped 0.3% to $1.2454, on track for its biggest daily drop in a week as UK economy contracted by 0.5% in July, a worse than expected 0.2% contraction in gross domestic product.

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