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Expand chart
Data: Institute of International Finance; Note: Values not adjusted for inflation; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The continued strength of the dollar has been a headwind for U.S. businesses and it may begin to put a major strain on economies outside of the United States.

Where it stands: The share of debt issued by emerging market countries in dollars rose to an all-time high in the first quarter, data from the Institute of International Finance shows. If the currency trend doesn't change soon, countries already struggling with weakness at home will find themselves in serious trouble when these bonds need to be repaid.

  • While risk assets from global stocks to high-yield "junk bonds" have delivered strong returns to investors so far this year, emerging market currencies, which typically rally in such an environment, have missed the party entirely.
  • MSCI's Emerging Markets Currency Index last week fell to its lowest level in more than 3 months while the dollar index rose to its highest since June 2017.

Why it matters: The weakness in EM currencies suggests the market is still worried about the global economy, despite strong and steady economic readings from the U.S. and improvement in China.

The big picture: EM's problem children, Argentina and Turkey, have seen their currencies fall by around 13% and 9% against the dollar so far this year, after record losses in 2018. Both are experiencing recessions and analysts worry that defaults in 1 or both countries are on the horizon.

  • The dollar's strength could become "a chronic source of macroeconomic instability," the IIF warns.

The bottom line: Emerging market economies now make up 60% of global growth. Their health is imperative for the world economy to continue moving forward, and the dollar's strength has been weighing on it.

Go deeper: The global economic whiplash between stocks and currency markets

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.