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August 22nd 2009

Dollar Reverts Back to Former Self

Only two weeks ago, analysts were singing about a new day for the Dollar, which had risen on the basis of good news for the first time in months. In hindsight, it looks like such talk was premature, as the Dollar has returned to its old ways. Good news once again causes the Greenback to fall, while bad news causes it to rise.

This development (or lack thereof) suggests that investors may have gotten ahead of themselves, when they sent the Dollar surging after the employment picture brightened slightly. At the time, the news was interpreted as a sign that rate hikes were imminent. On a broader level, it was a sign that investors had dumped the paradigm of risk aversion, in favor of a model based on comparing economic fundamentals. Since then, investors have slowly moved to distance themselves from the notion that the Fed will soon hike rates, and in the process have moved back towards trading based on risk dynamics.

As a result, positive news developments over the last couple weeks have coincided both with a rise in equity prices and a decline in the Dollar. When the Chinese stock market collapsed one day last week, investors responded by dumping high-yield assets, and moving temporarily back into “safe haven” currencies. “Diving Shanghai Helps Dollar” read one headline. “Worries over the continued fragility of the world economy outweighed a firmer tone in overseas equity markets to underpin the U.S. dollar versus major counterparts,” explained another report.

Meanwhile, a divide is forming among fundamental analysts. There is one school of thought which argues that the US will be the first industrialized economy to recover, and hence the first to raise rates. Based on this line of reasoning, then, positive economic news provides a foundation upon which to buy the Dollar. A competing school of thought, meanwhile, has suggested that regardless of if/when a US recovery materializes, it will be overshadowed by out-of-control inflation. In this regard, then, the Dollar is not such an attractive buy.

No less than the venerable Warren Buff has insisted that the Fed’s quantitative easing program and the US economic stimulus plan – while necessary – threaten to create even bigger problems than the ones they purport to solve. “But enormous dosages of monetary medicine continue to be administered and, before long, we will need to deal with their side effects. For now, most of those effects are invisible and could indeed remain latent for a long time. Still, their threat may be as ominous as that posed by the financial crisis itself,” he said.

If this true, then the Dollar is damned either way. Damned in the short-term as a result of a pickup in risk appetite, and damned in the long-term due to inflation.

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Posted by Adam Kritzer | in Economic Indicators, News, US Dollar | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments of “Dollar Reverts Back to Former Self”

  1. Tradetaxfree Says:

    Recent technical analysis of the Dollar citing a Bear Trap is compelling http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article12615.html

    Whenever everyone is bearish markets invariably rise.

  2. jturner Says:

    I feel that the easy money policies of the Fed will continue for some time and put further pressure on the dollar, and the huge increase in the money supply is going to create a big inflation problem within the next few years. The main beneficiary of this will be gold related assets in my view.

  3. Market Timing Says:

    Until inflation starts to appear, expect the Fed to continue to hold the reigns loose. Market will rise until then, and even then, markets will react/recover until rates start getting above the 4-5% range. That’s historically the place where money begins to exit the stock market and into assets with guaranteed returns.

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