Markets are relatively calm as the end of the month draws near. The dollar is backed by subtle taper talk from the Fed while Sino-American talks keep markets bid. US GDP, Durable Goods Orders and Unemployment Claims are all eyed. Cryptocurrencies are drifting back down. 

Taper talk: Federal Reserve Governor Randal Quarles opened the door to discussing the reduction of the bank’s bond-buying scheme in one of the upcoming meetings, depending on conditions. His comments echo the subtle hints in the Fed’s meeting minutes and support the dollar. The Fed currently buys $120 billion worth of Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities per month.

US and Chinese trade representatives held talks on commerce between the world’s largest economies. Reports describe the conversations as “candid” – a diplomatic term reflecting substantial disagreements. Nevertheless, the mere discussions have supported Asian markets and the Chinese yuan. 

After a light Wednesday, the economic calendar is packed in the US. The second release of Gross Domestic Product statistics is set to show a minor upgrade to 6.5% annualized growth in the first quarter.

Weekly Unemployment Claims are forecast to continue their gradual decline and the most significant publication is of Durable Goods Orders for April. The volume of orders probably rose last month, albeit it at a slower pace than 1% in March.

In Washington, Republicans and the White House continue discussing infrastructure spending plans, yet the gaps remain wide. 

End-of-month moves: Money managers have been adjusting their portfolios ahead of the end of the month and a long weekend in the US and the UK. Choppy trading is expected. 

EUR/USD is trading below 1.22 amid dollar strength and after German consumer climate figures fell short of estimates with -7 points. 

GBP/USD is struggling at around 1.41 after France joined Germany in demanding quarantine from those visiting from Britain. Concerns about the spread of the variant first identified in India and revelations about the government’s handling of the pandemic are weighing on sterling. 

Cryptocurrencies are on the back foot, with Bitcoin changing hands at around $38,000 and Ethereum hovering above $2,700. DogeCoin, Elong Musk’s favorite, remains volatile.