Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The strength of the dollar is creeping in as a major worry for business leaders, and it's looking poised to grow stronger.

Details: The dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against currency peers like the euro, yen and British pound, is rising toward its highest level since 2017.

Why it matters: On earnings calls so far in the first quarter, FX and currency worries, aka the dollar's strength, has been the most cited negative by S&P 500 companies.

  • A strong dollar makes U.S. exports less competitive and eats away at profits for U.S.-based multinational firms.

The big picture: The dollar also has been strengthening against the currencies of emerging countries, like China, where many American businesses generate significant revenue.

Between the lines: Companies generally don't change prices because of currency fluctuations, so a hypothetical 20-yuan Big Mac could translate to $3 when the dollar is weak, but only $2.90 when it's strong.

  • McDonald's sells over 1 billion Big Macs a year in China, so that number makes a big difference.
  • "The dollar rally is back on track as the divergence theme re-emerges," Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, wrote in a note to clients. "For EM, that has translated into broad-based losses this past week ... and we see further EM losses ahead."

Unfortunately for nervous executives, even though the Fed has paused its interest rate hiking cycle, U.S. rates are among the highest in the developed world and other central banks are taking measures likely to weaken their currencies.

  • The European Central Bank looks poised to institute more stimulus measures to support sputtering growth in Germany, Italy and Sweden.
  • Economists increasingly expect the Bank of Japan to add stimulus, according to a Bloomberg poll.
  • The Bank of England is likely on pause until a resolution is found for Brexit and the central banks of Australia and New Zealand have both been sending dovish messages, suggesting rate cuts may be coming soon.

The bottom line: Investors buy the dollar when they are worried about global growth and when U.S. economic data is strong. After weak manufacturing readings in Germany and Japan and strong U.S. retail sales and 50-year-low initial jobless claims data last week, both themes look fully in force.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.
6 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.