Dollar Hit by President Trump’s Comments on Rising Rates by the Fed

Aug. 21, 2018 (Western Union Business Solutions) – Reports that President Trump is not happy about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates hit the U.S. dollar which sank to eight-week lows. The dollar was broadly weaker Tuesday, having hit 6- and 8-week lows against the Swiss franc and yen and its lowest in nearly two weeks against the euro, sterling and Canadian dollar. The growth-bent U.S. president has reportedly taken exception with the Fed raising borrowing rates, something it’s expected to do for a sixth time under Mr. Trump’s watch in September. The dollar slipped on the president’s remarks as it called into question the Fed’s independence from political influence and gained added traction from dollar positioning having reached elevated levels of late. Yet pushing the dollar down for long could be a tough task with safer bets in vogue on worries about trade wars and Turkey’s economic crisis. Mr. Trump’s jab at the Fed puts heightened focus on a speech Friday by Fed chairman Jerome Powell.


Sterling shot nearly two cents above 14-month lows after the dollar fell prey to remarks from President Trump reportedly being displeased with the nation’s central bank raising interest rates, a move that he sees as an impediment to the U.S. economy achieving a faster cruising speed. Gains for the pound could be the short-lived variety given the headwind on the currency from how Britain is yet to strike a trade deal with the EU to keep from crashing out of the bloc come March.


The U.S. dollar index flirted with two-week lows, as it fell victim to presidential criticism about the Fed raising interest rates. The remarks from President Trump came amid a lull in the economic calendar and at a time when market positioning was a bit stretched on the dollar, exacerbating its decline. Mr. Trump’s remarks put heightened focus on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech Friday at 10 a.m. ET at the central bank’s summer symposium in Jackson hole, Wyo. Should the Fed chairman signal full steam ahead for a rate hike in September it could help keep the dollar biased higher.


The euro got squeezed to its highest in nearly two weeks against the dollar which took on the chin remarks from President Trump that he reportedly isn’t happy about the Fed raising interest rates, moves that he sees as impeding his bid to shift the world’s biggest economy into a high gear. While the euro capitalized on the dollar’s retreat, gains could prove tough to sustain for long amid worries about Turkey’s economic crisis spreading to European banks.


The yen surrendered gains against the dollar that overnight had lifted it to 8-week peaks. The dust has started to settle after President Trump seemingly took a swipe at the Fed for raising rates, a blow that hit the dollar squarely on the chin. Still, the yen remains camped toward the upper end of its range as Mr. Trump’s call for lower rates exerted downward pressure on U.S. Treasury yields, capping upside in USDJPY.


Canada’s dollar romped to its highest in almost two weeks, boosted by rallying oil markets, up 1% to above $67, and President Trump’s displeasure about the Fed raising rates which he sees as standing in the way of meaningfully faster U.S. growth. Meanwhile, the prospect of higher lending rates north of the border has been a source of strength for the Canadian dollar. A parade of bullish Canadian data of late has lowered the bar for a rate hike from 1.50% as soon as September.


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