Yesterday the dollar rose another 1.2% against the euro to $1.0415, the highest since January 2003. And the US. currency climbed by another 1.4% against the yen. The Dollar Index added to its gain to hit a 15-year high.
Today the dollar has backed off a bit. Not surprising after the huge two-day run after Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting. But this does all raise the question of how much more there is left in the run.
Currency traders are confident that the dollar will gain another 2% to 3% before the end of the year. So confident that traders are telling both Bloomberg and the Financial Times that this is “free” money to the end of the year.
The gain in the U.S. currency is based on a “best-of-both-worlds” reading after the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates by 25 basis points. On the one hand, U.S. interest rates have headed higher and look to be headed still higher–and that’s good for the dollar. On the other hand, the U.S. economy looks to be headed toward stronger growth–and that’s good for the dollar.
The one fly in the ointment today is an unexpectedly large drop in U.S. housing starts in November. The 18.7% decline to a 1.09 million annualized rate, however, comes after a big jump to a 1.34 million annualized rate in October. Economists then saw that October rate as unsustainable so today’s report isn’t raising red flags as far as I’ve been able to tell.