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Stick With US Dollar Until Other Safe Havens Come Along

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Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 10:42 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In lieu of any other reliable investor safe havens, I am going to continue to believe in the U.S. dollar.

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen on Monday said: “In terms of the goals Congress assigned us I would say we’re doing pretty well. The economy has been growing at a moderate pace, mainly supported by consumer spending, but housing has a little bit been healthier than it has been. Investment spending that had been quite weak last year is showing a little bit greater strength and the global economy, which was quite weak now seems to be operating in a slightly more robust and healthier way. So, looking forward, I think the economy is going to continue to grow at a moderate pace. Our job is going to be to try to set monetary policy to sustain what we have achieved … Where before we had our foot pressed down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all the oomph we possibly could, now we’re allowing the economy to kind of coast and remain on an even keel. To give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pressing down hard on the accelerator.”

For investors, this means in clear language that the fed-funds rates will continue their slow upward trend.

How far can rates go up will remain an open question as it will be the state of the U.S. economy and U.S. inflation that are the main drivers for the setting of the fed-funds rates.

Interestingly, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard gave an interesting presentation about the US macroeconomic outlook in Melbourne, Australia.

“The U.S. economy has arguably converged to a low-real-GDP-growth, low-safe-real-interest-rate regime,” while he added that this situation is unlikely to change dramatically in 2017. “Because of this, the Fed’s policy rate can remain relatively low while still keeping inflation and unemployment near goal values,” he said.

About the Fed’s balance $4.43 trillion balance sheet he said: “Ending balance sheet reinvestment may allow for a more natural adjustment of rates across the yield curve as normalization proceeds.”

For investors, all this means that the way to normalization of the Fed’s monetary policy will take many years. In my opinion, it would be a wonder that the U.S. economy would remain spared from a recession, let alone a major geopolitical event (hopefully not!). along that long road to normalization.

As investing has to be seen in a global context, ECB Vice President Vítor Constâncio said at a hearing before the European Parliament: “We have, in Europe, an independent monetary policy and we don't follow the Fed or the Fed interest rates. Each central bank should deal with its own domestic situation and that's the way it should be.”

This is very important as that view of the ECB means that if the U.S. economy (and to a lesser extend inflation) will evolve as Yellen expects it to do, and therefore earlier than St. Louis Fed Ped President James Bullard sees it, then it is reasonable to assume that we will not have to wait that long before the divergence will grow further between the Fed's funds target ranges that at present are 0.75 percent – 1.00 percent and the ECB’s fixed rate for the main refinancing operations (the ECB's equivalent for the Fed funds rates) that still stands at 0.00 percent.

This means that for all those who think that the U.S. dollar’s run has, at least for the most part, run its course could well be obliged to revise their view.

As an investor, I still would prefer to keep my U.S. dollar-denominated investments. If there would be something that could change that, I’ll have to wait. The market sway from President Donald Trump's politics remains still the big unknown, which isn't helpful for planning long-term investing.

Please keep in mind that at this moment there are no safe havens. Of course, that situation will change at some time, but we aren’t there yet.

Etienne "Hans" Parisis is a bank economist who has advised global billionaires and governments on the financial markets and international investments.

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HansParisis
Please keep in mind that at this moment there are no safe havens. Of course, that situation will change at some time, but we aren’t there yet.
investor, dollar, safe, haven, US
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2017-42-11
Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 10:42 AM
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