As goes the Donald Trump administration, so goes the US dollar.
The latest blow to the Trump White House and his allies in the Republican-led Congress is another demise of their healthcare plan. The failure is a political fiasco. It has also dragged the dollar to its lowest level since September versus a basket of currencies.
Already this year the US dollar index has fallen more than 7%, according to data from FactSet. (Remember just three months ago when Trump was worried the dollar was too strong?) The failure of the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is another reminder to the markets that it’s unlikely the US economy is going to see a growth boost thanks to Trump’s promised reforms—mostly because it’s unlikely these policies will ever become law in the revolutionary and timely manner promised.
And so, according to Commerzbank, the worsening outlook for the dollar represents something deeper. “All hopes of a major growth boost from Washington had to be abandoned some time ago,” its analysts wrote. “The significant USD reaction of this morning rather reflects a major underlying USD scepticism in the market.”
Political impotence is only part of the problem. Stable but only moderate economic growth and the possibility the Federal Reserve will delay the next round of interest rate increases has left the dollar vulnerable. Foreign-exchange options markets show that traders are the least bullish they’ve been on the dollar since May 2016. In its place other currencies have flourished, most notably the Mexican peso, to which the dollar has lost more than 15% of its value this year.
|US dollar vs…||YTD performance (%)|
|New Zealand dollar||-5.8|
|South African rand||0.0|
|Hong Kong dollar||0.6|