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- The dollar rose to its highest level of 2019 on Monday.
- The gains came amid further complaints from Trump that the greenback is too strong — something he says works counter to the US’s trade-war interests.
- Trump once again called for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, which he believes will likely be dollar-negative.
- An expert at Monex Europe explains why there are simply too many forces pushing to dollar higher for a weak currency to be attainable in the near term.
- Read more on Markets Insider.
Trump’s frustrations with the US dollar continue.
The president again took to Twitter on Monday to lament the strength of the US currency, which he says runs counter to his trade-war objectives. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg Dollar Index — which surveys the greenback versus a basket of global currencies — climbed to its highest level of 2019 that same day.
"Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world," Trump tweeted.
As part of his weak-dollar crusade, Trump has even gone so far as to suggest the US should intervene and artificially weaken the dollar, moving the trade conflict into currency war territory.
But, so far, instead of directly debasing the currency, Trump has repeatedly blamed the dollar’s strength on the Federal Reserve and implored it to slash rates. After all, monetary easing expands the overall money supply, reducing the value of each existing dollar in circulation.
The Fed should cut by "at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well," Trump said. If that happened, it would boost the US economy and the world economy would be "greatly and quickly enhanced — good for everyone!" he added.
Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe says Trump’s other trade-war measures are sabotaging his hopes for a weaker dollar.
"There’s a delicious irony to it," he told Markets Insider in an interview. "The one person who has the greatest ability to weaken the US dollar is of course Donald Trump."
Berich says that if Trump dropped the trade war, it would lift worldwide growth and give the global economy the opportunity to recover, especially if the Fed is easing at the same time. That would most likely lead to a weaker dollar — an outcome that seems unlikely as tensions continue to escalate.
Another supporting element for the dollar is that the US economy is doing much better than global peers, making it unlikely to start to deteriorate faster than other countries enough to weaken the dollar, Berich said. And even if it did, it wouldn’t necessarily be helpful as it would likely drag global growth down further.
Because of these factors, the situation at hand is that even though the Fed is easing, "that doesn’t diminish the attractiveness of the dollar," Berich said. The dollar is seen as a haven asset, especially when global growth is weak.
This week, the dollar’s strength will likely be impacted by the actions of the Fed. The minutes from the Fed’s July meeting will come out Wednesday, the Fed’s 2019 economic symposium begins in Jackson Hole on Thursday, and Powell will speak on Friday. Should there be signs that rate cuts are coming in September, that could weaken the dollar.
But it’s not a sure thing. When the Fed handed out the rate cut in July — the first since the Great Recession — the dollar surged, extending its 2019 rally. This is because Powell was very neutral in his reasoning for the cut, calling it a "mid-cycle adjustment" and not the beginning of a cutting cycle.
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