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Swedish Riksbank becomes second major central bank to cut interest rates this cycle

 

Sweden’s Riksbank follows SNB in announcing interest rate cut  

The dollar strengthened against the Swedish krona following the Riksbank's announcement of an interest rate cut on Wednesday, marking it the second major central bank to lower interest rates in this economic cycle.

Sweden's central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% to 3.75%, its first cut in eight years, and signaled potential for two additional reductions in the latter half of the year, provided the outlook for inflation holds.  

Markets had partially anticipated the rate cut, with Dutch bank ING projecting a total of 57 basis points in cuts by September.

“When inflation approaches the target and economic activity is weak, monetary policy can be eased,” the Riksbank said in a press release.

Inflation in Sweden for March was reported below the central bank's expectations at 2.2%, and the country's GDP growth for the first quarter is projected to be weak.

Following the announcement, the U.S. dollar climbed to 10.9237 Swedish krona from 10.8646 krona the previous day, and the euro also gained against the Swedish currency.  

At the time of writing on May 9, the USD/SEK pair fell back to 10.8878 (with USD down vs. SEK by 0.2% on the day). The EUR to SEK pair showed a similar dynamic, falling back 0.13% to 11.7093.

The U.S. dollar index (DXY), a measure of the greenback’s strength against a range of major peers, held steady on Thursday at 105.5. The DXY has gained over 4.1% so far this year.

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Riksbank second major bank in Europe to announce cut, market eyes ECB

Following a similar move by the Swiss National Bank in late March, the Riksbank's rate cut may set the stage for a widely expected cut by the European Central Bank next month.

A series of hot inflation readings in the U.S., with the CPI print most recently exceeding forecasts at 3.5% in March, has pushed expectations of Federal Reserve rate cuts to later in the year.

Following the Fed’s meeting last week, expectations for interest cuts in the U.S. this year only slightly adjusted, indicating that market sentiment had largely been in line with the bank’s thinking. The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged last Wednesday, holding them at the current target rate of 5.25%-5.50%.

Interest-rate futures revealed modestly improved probabilities for rate cuts in September and November. According to the CME FedWatch Tool, there is now a 48.9% chance that the first interest rate cut will occur during the Fed's September meeting.

According to the CME FedWatch Tool, there is now a 48.9% chance that the first interest rate cut will occur during the Fed's September meeting.

 

BoE keeps rates unchanged, MPC members lean towards cuts

The Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting earlier today, as anticipated by markets, but a second official on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) backed a cut, in what was seen as another step towards the bank lowering interest rates.  

Markets.com Chief Market Analyst Neil Wilson commented on the decision in a preview of the meeting in his morning note:

“Messaging is likely to shift further towards a cutting bias – whether or not there is an explicit green light for August is up for debate. This would only chime with market pricing but could be seen as a modest surprise since the Bank of England has been playing its cards close to its chest of late”.

BoE officials voted 7-2 to keep rates at a 16-year high. Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden joined Swati Dhingra in voting for a cut to 5%.  

The pound slipped versus the dollar after the decision, hitting a two-week low but later steadying at $1.2505.


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Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be construed to be investment advice.

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