South Africa's rand steady ahead of local inflation, Fed meeting

The New Zealand dollar remained above 73 US cents but barely budged on the day as markets await the latest New Zealand political opinion poll ahead of Saturday's general election and the outcome of the US Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee meeting. It also now thinks that the eurozone will grow by 2.1 percent this year, 0.3 percentage point more than its previous prediction in June. The contract fell 14 cents, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $50.55 a barrel on Thursday.

The 30-year Treasury yield was trading at 2.780-a fall of ~0.99%.

Given how concerned some officials had been about inflation, there was clearly some money looking for a more dovish Fed than we saw.

Asian markets turned lower Friday as investors cashed in at the end of a mostly positive week while the dollar weakened against its main peers with analysts questioning the chances of a third U.S. interest rate hike this year.

All the easy money sloshing around on financial markets burnished bullion's reputation as a hedge against inflation and as a storer of wealth amid the debasement of paper currencies sending gold to an all-time nominal high above $1,900 an ounce by August 2011. Markets are also waiting for any hints of a rate hike in December. They now expect there will likely be two hikes, down from three. Iyt will start shrinking its balance sheet by unwinding ay $10bn a month, it said. This will rise by $10 billion each quarter until it hits $50 billion, according to Politico. It has gained 0.3 percent on the week. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off.

"Storm-related disruptions and rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term", according to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement on September 20.

However, the Fed lowered its rate forecast for 2019 to 2.7% from 2.9%.

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"The market could throw a little bit of a fit if they push (balance sheet reduction) back".

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was virtually unchanged after erasing earlier declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2% to 22 370.70, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1%.

The caution in financial markets ahead of the Fed has kept some investors from making sharper adjustments to their positions despite potentially higher tensions over the Korean peninsula following hawkish statements from U.S. President Donald Trump overnight.

In October, the Fed will begin reducing its $4.5trn portfolio in bonds by stopping reinvesting the proceeds of maturing debt accumulated through the various QE programmes.

"Trump's comments were actually very strong and the won would have moved more if it were not for the overall cautious mood before the Fed's decision", said Kim Doo-un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment Seoul.

The Fed is expected to slow their bond-buying program at around $US10 billion a month, ultimately rising to $US50 billion.