Aug 1, 2019

Jerome Powell's rate cut could send the dollar "significantly higher"

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

The dollar rose to its highest level in more than 2 years after the Federal Reserve's rate cut Wednesday, as currency markets got a reality check about the growth prospects of the greenback against the world's other currencies.

What's happening: Strategists have been expecting the dollar to weaken for the past 2 years, yet it has remained strong against global peers like the euro, pound and yuan. After Jerome Powell's Wednesday press conference, the dollar looks poised to rise to new highs.

Why it matters: President Trump has openly complained about the strong dollar's negative impact on U.S. businesses that generate significant revenue overseas — many of which are also suffering from the trade war. Continued appreciation now seems likely and could prompt action from the White House.

What they're saying: John Doyle, vice president of dealing and trading at Tempus Inc., tells Axios that Wednesday's news conference marks a "recalibration" for investors in the currency markets.

  • If Powell and the Fed stand by the "mid-cycle adjustment" language used during Powell's press conference, the dollar could test its highs from March 2017.

Investors had been factoring in multiple rate cuts from the Fed in the next 12 months, but Powell reset expectations about the direction of U.S. monetary policy versus the rest of the world, Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions, tells Axios.

  • "Today’s hawkish rate cut poured cold water on expectations for a series of rate cuts for the balance of the year," he said.
  • What happens next for the dollar will depend on what the other central banks bring to the table, Manimbo added. "If we see forceful action from the ECB in September, if the Bank of Canada joins the action, that could send the dollar flying significantly higher," he said.

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