What you need to know on Wednesday, February 24:
The US dollar maintains its bitter tone in the currency market, but ended the day unevenly. It appreciated against the CHF, JPY and EUR, but fell against GBP, AUD and CAD, which reached new yearly highs against the dollar.
Wall Street fell at the open amid a selloff led by tech stocks, but trimmed most of its initial losses before the close after U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell testified on monetary policy before The congress.
Powell said time would be needed for “further substantial progress” towards the central bank’s goals on employment and inflation, adding that any changes to the bond purchase program will be communicated “well in advance.” He also acknowledged that better data is coming in, but reiterated that the economic recovery has slowed in recent months.
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said it will take some time for the country to see a full economic recovery and return to pre-pandemic levels, explaining that they are not there. He added that he hopes to have widespread immunity against COVID-19 by the end of the year.
In the UK, the data on employment was mixed, but mostly encouraging. The ILO unemployment rate reached 5.1%, as expected, in the three months to December. Average earnings including bonus in the same quarter increased 4.7%, exceeding the 4.2% expected. In addition, the number of unemployed fell by 20,000 in January, much better than the expected increase of 35,000.
Commodities fell but moved away from daily lows. Gold is trading at $ 1,805.00 a troy ounce, while WTI is around $ 62.00 a barrel.