Dollar smashes through resistance as mega-rally gathers pace

 

HSBC says we are at the early stages of a dollar bull run that will change the world

Many $100 US Dollar Bills

Speculative dollar bets on the derivatives markets have reached a record high Photo: Alamy

The US dollar has surged to a four-year high against a basket of currencies and has punched through key technical resistance, marking a crucial turning point for the global financial system.

The so-called dollar index, watched closely by traders, has finally broken above its 30-year downtrend line as the US economy powers ahead and the Federal Reserve prepares to tighten monetary policy.

The index – a mix of six major currencies – hit 87.4 on Monday, rising above the key level of 87. This reflects the plunge in the Japanese yen since the Bank of Japan launched a fresh round of quantitative easing last week.

Data from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange show that speculative dollar bets on the derivatives markets have reached a record high, with the most extended positions against the euro, the yen, the Australian dollar, Mexican peso, the Canadian dollar, the Swiss franc, sterling, and the New Zealand dollar, in that order. The Swedish and Norwegian currencies are also coming under heavy pressure.

David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC, said a “seismic change” is under way and may lead to a 20pc surge in the dollar over a 12-month span. The mega-rally of 1980 to 1985 as the Volcker Fed tightened the screws saw a 90pc rise before the leading powers intervened at the Plaza Accord to cap the rise.

“We are only at the early stages of a dollar bull run. The current rally is unlike any we have seen before. The greatest danger for markets and forecasters is that they fail to adjust their behaviour to fully reflect a very different world,” he said.

Mr Bloom said the stronger dollar buys time for other countries engaged in currency warfare to “steal inflation”, now a precious rarity that economies are fighting over. The great unknown is how long the US economy itself can withstand the deflationary impact of a stronger dollar. The rule of thumb is that each 10pc rise in the dollar cuts the inflation rate of 0.5pc a year later.

Hans Redeker, from Morgan Stanley, said the dollar rally is almost unstoppable at this stage given the roaring US recovery, and the stark contrast between a hawkish Fed and the prospect of monetary stimulus for years to come in Europe.

“We think this will be a four to five-year bull-market in the dollar. The whole exchange system is seeking a new equilibrium,” he said. “We think the euro will reach $1.12 to the dollar by next year and will be even weaker than the yen in the race to the bottom.”

Mr Redeker said US pension funds and asset managers have invested huge sums in emerging markets without considering the currency risks. “They may be forced to start hedging their exposure, and that could catapult the dollar even higher in a self-fulfilling effect.”

The dollar revival could prove painful for companies in Asia that have borrowed heavily in the US currency during the Fed’s QE phase, betting it would continue to fall.

Data from the Bank for International Settlements show that the dollar “carry-trade” from Hong Kong into China may have reached $1.2 trillion. Corporate debt in dollars across Asia has jumped from $300bn to $2.5 trillion since 2005.

More than two-thirds of the total $11 trillion of cross-border bank loans worldwide are denominated in dollars. A chunk is unhedged in currency terms and is therefore vulnerable to a dollar “short squeeze”.

The International Monetary Fund said $650bn of capital has flowed into emerging markets as a result of QE that would not otherwise have gone there. This is often fickle “low-quality” money that came late to the party.

Many of these countries have picked the low-hanging fruit of catch-up growth and are suffering from credit exhaustion. They have deep structural problems and a falling rate of return on investment. The worry is that a tsunami of money could rotate back out again as investors seek higher yields in the US, possibly through crowded exits.

 

Source:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11206596/Dollar-smashes-through-resistance-as-mega-rally-gathers-pace.html

Related Articles

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: