Many 2017 outlooks included the sentence "in a strong US dollar environment..." Expectations for the US dollar immediately after the election of President Donald Trump were elevated, while the euro continued to face headwinds. As often happens with forecasts, it couldn't have been more wrong. So what's next?
Going into 2017, the market consensus was one of a strong US dollar environment, with the expectation of the US engine firing on all cylinders, with support from fiscal policy, monetary policy and de-regulation. The engine has stuttered, the US dollar has been declining all year and not many US dollar bulls are left. We are taking stock.
Since Trump's election in November, financial markets have focused on the reflation trade. Inflation expectations and bond yields have risen, as have equities and commodities. Although the US dollar has strengthened by a little over 3% on a trade-weighted basis, this masks the individual currency winners and losers.
Can investors exploit "value" and "interest" signals to guide their foreign currency allocation? The answer to both looks like a decisive yes. These concepts can be used to help guide currency investments. In the wake of the post-Brexit vote sterling slump, they caution us to be nervous about the strong dollar hype.