Fundamental Forecast for US Dollar: Bullish
- US Federal Open Market Committee meeting leaves US Dollar and yields sharply higher
- The US currency has proven sensitive to the Russian Financial crisis – next moves key
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The US Dollar finished at fresh multi-year highs versus the Euro and near key peaks versus other currencies, boosted by a sharp improvement in US interest rate expectations on a highly-anticipated Fed interest rate decision.
We expectsignificantly less volatility in the holiday-shortened week ahead, but traders should be wary of any surprises from revisions to the Q3 US Gross Domestic Product report, US Durable Goods Orders data, and two Home Sales releases. Although admittedly unlikely, any surprises in the third revision to Q3 GDP figures could have a marked effect on US interest rates and the Dollar itself.
The US Dollar jumped alongside short-term yields on this past week’s highly-anticipated US Federal Open Market Committee interest rate decision. Fed officials initially disappointed those who expected a more hawkish shift in policy in the first FOMC meeting since the end of Quantitative Easing in October. Yet short-term treasury yields and implied US interest rates rose sharply as Fed Chair Janet Yellen essentially said that rate hikes could come after as few as two meetings.
The US Dollar continues to track changes in the US 2-year Treasury Yield—a strong proxy for Fed interest rate expectations—with great accuracy. A sharp reversal leaves the 2-year UST yield at more than twice the low it set through October 15—the exact day of the US Dollar low as seen through the Dow Jones FXCM Dollar Index (ticker: USDOLLAR). Since that date, the Greenback has surged a remarkable 11 percent versus the interest-rate sensitive Japanese Yen, 7 percent versus the Australian Dollar, and 5 percent versus the Euro.
US Dollar traders will almost certainly track changes in yields and interest rate expectations, and a key question is whether domestic economic data can continue to impress and send rates and the USD to further peaks. Dollar momentum seems stretched, and economic data can only surpass expectations for so long. Yet the US Dollar remains in an uptrend until it isn’t, and we’ll need to see concrete signs of a turn to call for a meaningful turnaround.
Traders should otherwise keep an eye on developments in the Russian financial crisis and broader Emerging Markets. Many were surprised to see the US S&P 500 track the USD/Ruble exchange rate on a virtual tick-for-tick basis, but the truth is that further destabilization in Russia threatens contagion and carries direct implications for global financial markets.
Contagion risks sent the S&P 500 sharply lower and the flight to safety likewise pushed the US Dollar down versus the Euro and Yen as traders excited USD-long positions in a hurry. Both the Greenback and the S&P recovered sharply into the end of the trading week. Whether or not the Dollar continues higher may subsequently depend on the trajectory of the Ruble and broader financial market risk sentiment.