EUR/USD fell considerably on Friday to close the week below 1.08, as hawkish comments from Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer on the potential rebound of U.S. inflation increased the likelihood of an interest rate hike by the U.S. central bank next month.
Investors also reacted to sluggish euro zone GDP figures for the third quarter, which could expedite plans from the European Central Bank to ramp up its asset-purchasing program.
The currency pair traded between 1.0714 and 1.0817 on Friday before settling at 1.0764, down 0.0051 or 0.47% on the session. For the week, the euro remained relatively flat against the dollar after plunging 1.2% last Friday following a robust October U.S. jobs report. Over the last month, however, the euro has tumbled more than 5.25% amid indications of the potential divergence of monetary policies between the Fed and the ECB.
EUR/USD likely gained support at 1.0673, the low from November 10 and was met with resistance at 1.1496, trade video the high from Oct. 15.
On Thursday evening after the close of trading, Fischer reiterated that long-term inflation will move back toward the Fed’s long-term goal of 2%, as transitory effects from a strong dollar and low energy prices continue to recede. Earlier this week, the dollar soared to a seven-month high as currency traders reacted to last week’s stellar U.S. jobs report from October. Crude futures, meanwhile, slumped to near six-and-a-half year lows in Friday’s session amid further signs of a glut of oversupply on global energy markets. Inflation has remained below the Fed’s long-term goal of 2% in every month over the last three years.
In September, the PCE Price Index inched up 0.2% on a yearly basis following a 0.3% gain a month earlier. The Core PCE Price Index, which strips out food and energy prices, rose by 1.3%, unchanged from August. The core index is the Fed’s preferred gauge for long-term inflation.
“From the standpoint of the outlook, this transience means that some of the forces holding down inflation in 2015–particularly those due to a stronger dollar and lower energy prices–will begin to fade next year,” Fischer said in a speech at the Fed’s conference on Monetary Policy Implementation and Transmission in the Post-Crisis. “Consequently, overall PCE inflation is likely on this account alone to rebound next year to around 1-1/2 percent. And as long as inflation expectations remain well anchored, both core and overall inflation are likely to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate.”
Elsewhere, U.S. retail sales in October ticked up by 0.1%, two-tenths under consensus estimates due in part to sharp declines in electronic & appliance purchases and grocery sales. Core sales, minus auto and gas prices, increased by 0.3% after a flat reading in September. Producer prices, meanwhile, tumbled 0.4%, amid continued declines in the services industry. Business inventories, however, rose by a stronger than expected 0.3% last month.
In Europe, GDP in the third quarter increased moderately by 0.3%, following a lackluster gain of 0.4% three months earlier. Analysts expected to see economic growth in the euro zone of 0.4% last quarter. Disappointing international trade data served as a drag on growth in Italy and Germany, while restraining further upward movement in France. One day after ECB president Mario Draghi sent strong hints that the Governing Council could expand its quantitative easing program when it meets next month, the downbeat data could provide additional pressure on the central bank to act.
The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, closed the week at 98.90, up 0.33% on the session.