Banking & Finance Dollar gains as inflation worries resurface after Opec+ surprise By Reuters April 3, 2023 Creative Commons The dollar index, which measures the US currency against six peers, was at 102.77, aiming to break through 103 for the first time in a week The US dollar started the week higher as fears over inflation resurfaced after a surprise announcement by major oil producers to cut production further, with traders wagering the Federal Reserve may need to increase interest rates at its next meeting. The announcement from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies, known as Opec+, comes after data on Friday showed US consumer spending rose moderately in February after surging the prior month, with inflation showing some signs of cooling even as it remained elevated. “While receding broader contagion risks, positive developments in China and expectations that the Fed is nearing the end of the tightening cycle should keep sentiments broadly supported, the recent oil price gain due to the surprise production cut is a fresh risk to inflation,” said Christopher Wong, a currency strategist at OCBC in Singapore. “Fresh inflation risks do imply the inflation fight is not over.” The euro was down 0.25 percent to $1.0812, hovering near a one-week low, while the Japanese yen weakened 0.04 percent to 132.86 per dollar. Sterling was at $1.2305, down 0.22 percent on the day, having touched a one-week low of $1.22825 earlier in the session. The dollar index, which measures the US currency against six peers, was last at 102.77, aiming to break through 103 for the first time in a week. The Opec+ cuts caused immediate oil price increases of more than six percent on Monday. The cuts were announced even before a virtual meeting of the Opec+ ministerial panel, which included representatives from Saudi Arabia and Russia, that was expected to stick to cuts of 2 million barrels per day (bpd) already in place until the end of 2023. Instead, the oil producers on Sunday announced further output cuts of around 1.16 million bpd. The two-year US Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was up 2.7 basis points at 4.089 percent. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was up 2.1 basis points to 3.511 percent. Markets are now pricing in the probability of the Fed hiking rates by a quarter point in May to 61 percent, from 48 percent on Friday. But, by the end of the year, expectations are priced in for cuts of 40 basis points. The risk-sensitive Australian dollar fell 0.21 percent to $0.667. The kiwi fell 0.54 percent to $0.622. In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin last fell 1.04 percent to $28,097.00. Ethereum last fell 1.55 percent to $1,789.48.