The strength of the EUR or the weakness of the USD
| 07-02-2018 | treasuryXL |
There has been a significant rise in the value of the EUR in the last year compared to the USD. From a low of USD 1.05 around the end of February 2017, the EUR has climbed up to USD 1.25 – representing an increase of around 20 per cent. Analysts are talking about the price rising above USD 1.30 later this year. All very good from the EUR side, but what is causing the EUR to appear so strong and the USD so weak?
It is fairly well known that the Fed could be looking to increase interest rates in 2018 – consensus is for 3 small rises throughout 2018. As EUR interest rates are negative, initially one would expect a large movement out of EUR and into USD. But it looks as if the economies are aligned in the same way and any rise in USD rates could later be followed by a rise in EUR rates.
A lot will depend on the announcements by the ECB to taper off its QE programme. Long term EUR yields are rising in possible anticipation, but are still far behind USD yields. There is a 2 per cent yield pickup in 10 year USD treasuries over Germany who act as the benchmark for the EUR.
The posturing of the US administration and the words of President Trump appear to be having a negative impact on the value of the USD. Statements from Washington about a weaker USD being good for the US trade have impacted on the market. Trump has been very critical about trade relationships with other countries. The words being uttered by the administration are certainly having a reaction on the markets.
The Dow Jones saw a sell off on Friday – it lost more than 650 points. The job report that was published showed that the US had added 200,000 jobs in January but, despite this good news, fear is growing that this will put upward pressure on inflation, leading to further rises in treasury bond yields.
However, there are potential hazards in the future for the EUR. General elections in Italy are due to take place on the 4th March 2018. Current sentiment within Italy shows a growing negative appreciation of the EU. The trials and tribulations concerning Brexit could also seriously undermine the strength of the EUR.
Whilst it appears that the USD is weak at present, any adverse news from with the EU could lead to a swift reversal in fortunes. The underlying sentiment would imply a weaker dollar, but fundamental changes in economic policy on both sides of the Atlantic could lead to rapid changes in sentiment.
Lionel Pavey – Cash Management and Treasury Specialist