U.S. dollar consolidates gains ahead of Fed policy meeting

U.S. dollar consolidates gains ahead of Fed policy meeting

LONDON, Nov 1 Reuters - The dollar consolidated gains against its rivals on Monday after posting its biggest daily rise in more than four months as hedge funds cut back bearish bets ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting this week.

Monetary policy in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom is in sharp focus this week, with the Federal Reserve widely expected to announce a tapering of stimulus, a factor that has lifted the greenback in recent weeks.

But quickening inflation data has prompted some investment banks like Goldman Sachs to advance their expectations of a rate hike by the Fed as early as July 2022, compared to the third quarter of 2023 previously.

The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against six rivals, was little changed at 94.161, hovering close to Friday's peak of 94.302, a level not seen since Oct. 13.

It jumped 0.8% on Friday, its biggest single-day spike since mid-June after a 4.4% surge in the government's index of core personal consumption expenditures - the Fed's preferred inflation measure - solidified market expectations for a rate lift-off around the middle of next year.

Money markets now assign a 50% probability of a 25 basis point rate hike by the Fed by next June, compared to only 15% a month earlier, according to CME futures data.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will also decide policy on Tuesday, with markets challenging the central bank's contention that rates won't rise until 2024.

The Aussie dollar slipped 0.3% to $0.7498, continuing its retreat from a nearly four-month high of $0.75555 reached last week.

The euro was flat at $1.15605, staying close to Friday's intra-day low of $1.1535, its weakest since Oct. 13, giving up most of its post ECB policy gains.