After experiencing a solid recovery in the second half of September the US dollar reversed gains, partially at least, and started the week on the back foot. The dollar index traded as low as 93.43 before inching up to 93.54 in late Asian session. The dollar lost ground against most of its peers, falling the most against the AUD (-0.35%), the SEK (-0.32%) and EUR (-0.26%). EM currencies were also better bid as the risk sentiment improved. The South Africa rand, Mexican pesos and Turkish lira reversed losses and surged 0.55%, 0.30% and 0.45% respectively.
Investors are struggling to have a clear vision on the USD outlook as the final mix of political and monetary policies could have various effects. On the monetary policy side, Janet Yellen’s re-election is far from being a done deal, which has unleashed speculation about her potential successor, should she passes the cut. Donald Trump will give his final decision within the next couple of weeks. The range of candidates, in term of monetary policy stance, is quite wide with Kevin Warsh, Gary Cohn, Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen being in the President’s shortlist.
On the political side, following the important steps recently undertaken by the Congress toward advancing the tax reform, there is no real fresh news so far. Although there are some tensions within the Republican Party about the proposed tax cut, mostly between Trump and Corker, which could delay somewhat the implementation of the new tax plan.
All in all, uncertainties are mostly stemming from temporary factor. Therefore, we believe that this week dollar weakness will prove temporary as investors focus will see the glass half-full again.
By Arnaud Masset