The U.S. dollar fell today after President-elect Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. currency was too high–in part because China holds down the price of the yuan.
On the comments the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was down 1.1% as of noon New York time. The Standard &Poor’s 500 stock index was off 0.2%. Gold climbed 1.1% and West Texas Intermediate crude rose climbed 0.5%.
I’d look on today as a short-term event–unless President Trump is going to reverse course on all the things–an infrastructure package, tax cuts, higher military spending–that he has promised on the campaign trail and as President-elect. There’s no way that those steps won’t lead to faster growth in the short-term, higher inflation, and two or more interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve. All of that, of course, will lead to a stronger dollar.
As much as Trump may wish that he can somehow engineer faster U.S. growth AND a weaker dollar in order to meet his promise to bring jobs back to the United States, there simply isn’t any way to reconcile those objectives.
Which doesn’t mean there’s no danger to U.S. and global financial markets in Trump’s remarks today. Put today’s call for a weaker dollar and a stronger yuan together with yesterday’s bashing of NATO and the European Union, and the market could have the grounds to decide that Trump is simply too volatile for comfort. And that would lead to a search for safe havens again. It’s no coincidence that the yen is up 3.5% over the last seven trading sessions.
The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) was up 6.59% as of noon New York time to 11.97.