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Dollar droops before key data, bitcoin soars above $57,000

TOKYO :The dollar traded on the back foot on Tuesday, as markets looked ahead to a week of U.S. economic data that will provide fresh signals on how soon the Federal Reserve may begin cutting interest rates.

Leading cryptocurrency bitcoin soared to a more than two-year high above $57,000, helped by enterprise software firm MicroStrategy Inc’s announcement that it had bought about 3,000 more of the tokens.

The yen was firmer after consumer inflation data topped estimates, reinforcing expectations that the Bank of Japan is still on track to exit negative rates as soon as next month.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of peers including the yen, euro and sterling, traded flat at 103.77 in Asian time, following a 0.17 per cent slide on Monday.

Markets have all but ruled out a cut at the Fed’s March meeting and have recently pushed back expectations for a cut to June from May, CME’s FedWatch Tool showed, following strong U.S. consumer and producer price data.

U.S. durable goods data is due later on Tuesday, while January’s U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index, which is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, will be released on Thursday.

“A still softish DXY (dollar index) doesn’t quite convey the USD’s story right here … and, if anything, key upcoming event risk can potentially fuel another leg up,” Westpac’s head of FX strategy, Richard Franulovich, wrote in a note.

“The bulk of DXY’s gains this year have unfolded over just a handful of marquee sessions, and outside that it has been decidedly consolidative,” he said. “The lacklustre DXY in recent days looks mostly like a continuation of that profile.”

The dollar slipped 0.12 per cent to 150.505 yen, with new figures showing consumer inflation stayed at the BOJ’s 2 per cent target in January, rather than dipping below it for the first time in nearly two years, as economists had predicted.

The euro was unchanged at $1.0850, following a 0.27 per cent advance in the previous session. Sterling edged 0.04 per cent lower to $1.2680, following five straight sessions of gains.

Bitcoin was last about 3 per cent higher at $56,190, after earlier jumping to $57,055 for the first time since December of 2021.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar added 0.1 per cent to $0.65475 ahead of monthly consumer price data, due Wednesday.

The kiwi eased 0.13 per cent to $0.6165, with traders gearing up for what could turn out to be a significant policy meeting by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) on Wednesday.

Markets are pricing in a one-in-three chance the RBNZ will raise its 5.5 per cent official cash rate to combat stubborn inflation.

“Given rich NZD positioning and the current rates pricing, if we see the RBNZ leave the cash rate on hold it may cause immediate NZD selling,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone, wrote in a note.

“I am seldom one to advocate trading a central bank meeting in isolation, but I see the risk skewed for a higher AUDNZD on the statement.”

Read More: Dollar droops before key data, bitcoin soars above $57,000

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