All eyes on the critical Fed decision, markets set to burst

Markets are cautious ahead of the all-important Federal Reserve decision, despite rising US yields with major pairs clinging to round levels. The EU is getting closer to resuming vaccination with AstraZeneca, gold is back to the higher range and Bitcoin is moving higher.

Calm before the storm: The Federal Reserve is set to leave its policy unchanged but publish closely-watched forecasts for growth, inflation, employment and interest rates. Markets foresee an earlier increase in borrowing costs than the Fed and fear a bump up in inflation.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference and will try to balance between acknowledging the vaccine and stimulus-led recovery without raising concerns of overheating and rate hikes.

Ahead of the Fed, Tuesday’s US Retail Sales report for February showed a large drop of 3%, albeit on top of an upward-revised statistic for January. Moreover, the sharp drop was attributed to storms in the southern US.

Currencies: EUR/USD is hovering around 1.19, GBP/USD is trading near 1.39 and USD/JPY is at 109, all experiencing narrowing ranges. Gold is has surpassed $1,730, potentially reflecting speculation that the Fed remains dowvish.

Vaccines: European regulators say that the benefits of using the AstraZeneca jabs outweigh concerns of blood clots that have arisen in recent days. Several leaders also signaled they are ready to lift their suspensions, which may derail the EU’s already sluggish vaccination campaign. A decision is due on Thursday.

Data: Final eurozone Consumer Price Index figures for February are set to confirm an increase in headline prices attributed to temporary factors. USD/CAD is trading around 1.24450 ahead of Canada’s release of inflation and crude oil inventories data.

Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin is trading around $56,000 and Ehtereum under $1,800 as cryptocurrencies also practice some calm after a busy weekend.

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