Monday, November 14, 2016

Dollar Strength Will Continue As Trump Policies Fuel US Inflation

By Leslie Shaffer
CNBC
November 14, 2016

The dollar was likely to continue its lurch higher in the wake of the surprise presidential election win by Donald Trump, as inflation was set for a comeback, analysts said.

The dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, rose as high as 99.247 in early Asia trade on Monday, from levels below 97 in the days before the U.S. election, which Trump won.

Analysts said the market was now pricing in the billionaire businessman's surprise win.

"It is very much the market building up expectation or pricing in his election campaign language," Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday. "His bias in terms of policy from an economist's standpoint is very much inflation, inflation, inflation."

"Infrastructure, deficit spending, protectionism, immigration reform; everything he's mentioned so far is going to push prices higher in the U.S.," Hui said. "If you block immigrants, or even illegal immigrants working in the states, wages will rise. If you think about trade policy, if you block Chinese exports to the U.S. prices will rise."

Expectations of higher inflation would in turn boost expectations that interest rates would climb, which would likely attract inflows into the U.S. dollar.

Hui expected that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates at its December meeting. That was likely to push up U.S. bond yields, helping to drive further flows into the dollar.

Other analysts also said they expected higher U.S. rates and a stronger dollar.

"December is baked in the cake," Ray Attrill, co-head of foreign-exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday.

But Attrill added that the market appeared to only be pricing in around 45 basis points of Fed hikes though to the end of 2017, including the expected 25 basis-point increase next month.

"Given what's happening with inflation expectations, given what the bond market signal is there, if the market's half right about inflation expectations and inflation next year, then that is probably going to be the next shoe to drop as far as U.S. interest rates are concerned," he said. Attrill expected short-term interest rates would continue creeping higher, pulling the dollar along for the ride.

In the wake of last week's election outcome, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed above 2 percent from levels below 1.80 percent in the days before the result.

"Seeing those shorter rates creeping higher, I think is something we should be braced for and that's something that brings in its wake a still firmer U.S. dollar," Attrill said.


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