The dollar is plunging

The dollar is plunging on Wednesday following the release of disappointing economic data.

The US dollar index was down by 0.7% at 96.34 at 10:23 a.m. ET, its lowest level since October 6, 2016.

Consumer prices fell more than expected in May, according to the Labour Department.

The consumer price index dipped 0.1%, missing expectations of a flat reading, and rose by 1.9% year-over-year. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core CPI rose by 0.1% last month, less than expected.

US retail sales also disappointed. Sales fell 0.3% in May, below expectations of them holding flat. Excluding gas and auto sales, retail sales were unchanged that month, which was also below expectations.

The slew of data comes ahead of the end of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting on Wednesday, after which most market watchers expect the FOMC to announce a rate hike.

Those who think the Fed should delay further rate increases might point to the CPI data softness. However, Fed officials are likely to say the softer inflation is transitory, and then point to continued strength in the labour market.

“It is likely that today’s retail sales report will have little impact on the Federal Reserve’s decision to hike the federal funds rate after the FOMC meeting concludes this afternoon,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, in emailed commentary.

“But further weakness in coming months could slow the pace of future Fed tightening,” he added.

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