The DollarDollar Forecast; The Bulls Are Back In Charge

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The Dollar Is Still King. How (in the World) Did That Happen?

LONDON — A cursory assessment might find the United States a less than ideal candidate for the job of managing the planet’s ultimate form of money.

Its public debt is enormous — $22 trillion, and growing. Its politics recently delivered the longest government shutdown in American history. Its banking system is only a decade removed from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Its proudly nationalist president provokes complaints from allies and foes alike that he breaches the norms of international relations, setting off talk that the American dollar has lost its aura as the indomitable safe haven.

But money tells a different story. The dollar has in recent years amassed greater stature as the favored repository for global savings, the paramount refuge in times of crisis and the key form of exchange for commodities like oil.

The enduring potency of the dollar gives force to President Trump’s mode of engagement. It has enabled his Treasury to find buyers for government savings bonds at enviably cheap rates, even as his $1.5 trillion worth of tax cuts added to the debt. It has reinforced Mr. Trump’s authority in imposing his foreign policies on an often-reluctant world by amplifying the power of his trade sanctions — especially against Iran and Venezuela.

Because banks cannot risk jeopardizing their access to the plumbing of the dollar-based global financial network, they have taken pains to steer clear of nations and companies deemed pariahs in Washington.

“There is no alternative to the dollar,” said Mark Blyth, an international political economist at Brown University. “We’re stuck with the dollar, which gives the United States astonishing structural power.”

In a clear indication that the American currency has been gaining power, dollar-denominated lending to borrowers outside the United States, excluding banks, soared between late 2007 and early 2020, according to the Bank for International Settlements. It increased to more than 14 percent of global economic output from less than 10 percent.

This has played out despite a chorus predicting after the financial crisis that the dollar might finally surrender some of its dominance; that, in an age of pushback to American exceptionalism, it was time for someone else’s money to have a turn.

China has sought to elevate the role of its currency, the renminbi, to reflect its stature as a world power. Over the last decade, it has set up foreign-exchange arrangements with scores of countries, including Canada, Britain and Brazil. President Xi Jinping has championed China’s $1 trillion collection of global infrastructure projects, known as the Belt and Road Initiative, in part as a means of expanding worldwide use of the renminbi. Last year, China set up a trading system in Shanghai allowing oil to be purchased in the Chinese currency.

But China’s unfolding economic slowdown, concerns about its soaring debts and unease from neighbors that its investment is really a new form of colonialism have combined to moderate its infrastructure plans.

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The Chinese government’s restrictions on taking money out of the country and its alarming detentions of foreigners — often in parallel with geopolitical scrapes — have tested the appeal of holding money embossed with the image of Chairman Mao.

“What about China?” Mr. Blyth asked, rattling off possible alternatives to the dollar. “I could go there and disappear. This doesn’t inspire confidence. Once you start that kind of politics, you cannot be serious as a global currency.”

The most formidable competitor to the dollar has long been the euro. In September, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, devoted part his final State of the Union address to lamenting that the bloc was paying for 80 percent of its energy imports in dollars, though just 2 percent came from the United States.

“We will have to change that,” Mr. Juncker declared. “The euro must become the active instrument of a new sovereign Europe.”

But the most trusted euro-denominated investment, German government bonds, are in chronically short supply. With a deep cultural aversion to debt, Germany has been reluctant to finance spending by selling bonds. As a result, investors seeking ultrasafe places to stash savings have very few options in the euro currency. By comparison, American savings bonds are in virtually limitless supply.

A series of crises within the 19 countries that share the euro has provoked more animosity than unity, revealing a foundational defect: The euro is a common currency lacking a common political structure that can guarantee a robust response when trouble arises.

“The problems with the euro are problems with governance,” said Catherine Schenk, an economic historian at the University of Oxford. “It has been deeply flawed from the outset. It doesn’t look like a very safe haven to go to from the U.S. dollar.”

By contrast, the dollar looks like a uniquely rare creature on the global landscape — a currency free of existential fears.

In recent years, the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates as it has phased out the cheap money it unleashed to attack the financial crisis. Higher rates have enhanced the appeal of the dollar for investors by lifting the rate of return on dollar holdings. More money has washed up on American shores.

“Even with Trump in the White House, and all he has done so far to undermine American leadership in the world, still the dollar is the dominant global currency and doesn’t seem to be waning,” said Nicola Casarini, a senior fellow at the Institute of International Affairs in Rome.

The certain endurance of the dollar has been a foundational truism in global affairs since the end of World War II. Perhaps counterintuitively, that notion was only strengthened by the global crisis that began in 2008.

The conflagration centered on the terrifying possibility that global banks would not be able to find enough dollars to avoid a reckoning with dollar-based debts. The Fed — essentially the central bank for the world — unleashed an unfathomable gusher of dollars. The system survived.

Between the beginning of 2008 and late 2020, the share of reserves that central banks worldwide held in dollars remained roughly constant, dipping to 62 percent of the total from 63 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. This, at a time when total reserves — the money that central banks hold on their balance sheets — expanded by more than half.

Dollar Holding Steady

World share of currencies that central banks hold

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The Bulls Are Still in Charge on GBP/AUD

Last month, the Great Britain pound vs. the Australian dollar looked as if it was poised for a drop, but now it seems that the bulls are the ones who manage things.

Long-term perspective

After piercing the support of the trend that started at 1.7213 and the 1.8457 support level (an important confluence area), the price began on April 4, 2020, a decline that could make anyone think that the bears took control. But there were two issues with this break: the next two candles that followed the March 29, 2020, were very bullish and managed to get the price back above the confluence area; the drop that followed the piercing decelerated and eventually confirmed 1.8178 as support.

Because the false break was stopped by a key level, namely 1.8178, there was a lot of optimism on the bullish side, optimism that made it possible for them to drive the price back above 1.8457.

As long as the price remains above 1.8457, confirms it as a support or falsely pierces it the bullish profile remains intact and 1.8742 is the next target. On the other hand, a break of 1.8457 would target 1.8178.

Short-term perspective

Price consolidates around the 1.8598 level. In the event of a decline, 1.8420 should limit the move.

From the current consolidation phase the price should target 1.8732. Once that level is reached, in the light of the bullish daily optimism, the price could continue to rally and 1.8900 would be a fit destination for such a development.

Levels to keep an eye on

D1: 1.8457 1.8742 1.8178
H4: 1.8598 1.8420 1.8731

If you have any questions, comments, or opinions regarding the Technical Analysis, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

Dollar-Bull

What is a Dollar Bull?

A dollar-bull is an investor who is optimistic about the value of the U.S. dollar (USD) and expects it to appreciate versus other major currencies.

Key Takeaways

  • A dollar-bull is an investor who is optimistic about the value of the U.S. dollar (USD) and expects it to appreciate versus other major currencies.
  • Some investors are perpetual dollar-bulls, in that they hold the general view that it is sheer folly to bet in the long term against the U.S. economy and, by extension, the U.S. dollar.
  • Dollar-bulls consider many factors, such as the economy, debt-to-spending ratio, market surplus, global commodity prices, and the geopolitical climate as a whole, to account for their view for both the dollar and the corresponding currency in the currency pair.

Understanding Dollar-Bulls

Not to be confused with a dollar bill, a dollar-bull is a forex trader, or speculator, who expects the U.S. dollar to rise in value with respect to the major currencies over time and will position their trades, or investment portfolios, to reflect this view. Their actions will even tend to support and strengthen the currency. Some investors are perpetual dollar-bulls, in that they hold the general view that it is sheer folly to bet in the long term against the U.S. economy and, by extension, the U.S. dollar. They might not know exactly which currency the dollar will outperform against, but they are firm in their view that it will exceed expectations.

Dollar-bulls consider many factors to account for their view for both the dollar and the corresponding currency in the currency pair. These factors may include the economy, debt-to-spending ratio, market surplus, global commodity prices, and the geopolitical climate as a whole and their impact on both nations.

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