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EUR/USD Fluctuates on Bernanke’s Comments

May 22, 2013

EUR/USD was swinging back and forth today as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent mixed signals about the future monetary policy. At first, he warned about the danger of a premature ending to quantitative easing. Such comments made traders believe that the Fed will keep QE intact. Yet later the Chairman suggested that the bond-purchase program may be reduced in the near future. The movement of the currency pair reflected shifting sentiment. Initially, the euro surged against the dollar, but later retreated and trades below the opening level now.

Existing home sales were at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million in April, higher that the March’s 4.94 million (upwardly revised from 4.92 million), but below the forecast 4.99 million. (Event A on the chart.)

US crude oil inventories decreased by 0.3 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.0 million barrels and are near the upper limit of the average range. (Event B on the chart.)

FOMC meeting minutes were released today, showing that policy makers were unsure should the asset-purchase program to be reduced and when the reduction should occur (event C on the chart):

Most observed that the outlook for the labor market had shown progress since the program was started in September, but many of these participants indicated that continued progress, more confidence in the outlook, or diminished downside risks would be required before slowing the pace of purchases would become appropriate. A number of participants expressed willingness to adjust the flow of purchases downward as early as the June meeting if the economic information received by that time showed evidence of sufficiently strong and sustained growth; however, views differed about what evidence would be necessary and the likelihood of that outcome.

EUR/USD for 2013-05-22

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