- U.S. Bank Wealth Management, Pioneer see greenback paring loss
- Currency selloff pauses as reports still show signs of growth
Traders who almost completely rule out a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase this year are confronted with data showing the U.S. economy is growing at a faster pace than its major peers. A forecasting tool created by the Fed Bank of Atlanta indicates U.S. growth in the first quarter of 2.6 percent at an annual rate, exceeding 1.6 percent average for Group of Eight countries, according to Bloomberg surveys.
"Moving to the extreme of zero hikes this year is not based on rational thought," said Jennifer Vail, head of fixed-income research in Portland, Oregon at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $125 billion. "The Fed’s dual mandate of employment and inflation are both crying for normalization. It’s going to support our case for modest dollar appreciation throughout the year" against the euro and currencies of commodity exporters.
The dollar’s selloff paused this week, as oil prices rose and eased concern that a global demand slump may spill into the U.S. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot index, which tracks the greenback versus 10 peers, was little changed this week and is down 1.1 percent this year. The index rose 20 percent during the past two years.
The greenback is down 2.4 percent versus the euro and 6.3 percent against the yen in 2016 as investors scaled back wagers of dollar strength based on Fed rate increase while other major central banks increase monetary stimulus.
Futures traders price in a 44 percent probability that the Fed raises rates this year, based on the assumption that the effective fed funds rate will trade at the middle of the new FOMC target range after the next increase. The likelihood is up from 30 percent a week earlier.
Monetary Policy"Divergence in monetary policies still matters," said Paresh Upadhyaya, director of currency strategy in Boston at Pioneer Investments, which oversees more than $240 billion. He said he is "more heartened" to buy the dollar against the euro and the yen.
Data due next week may provide more clues on whether the world’s biggest economy is weathering the global storm. Economists forecast a rebound in manufacturing activities and durable goods orders in January.
A report Friday showed consumer prices excluding food and fuel rose by the most in more than four years in January, adding to evidence that inflation may be moving toward the Fed’s 2 percent target.
"The risk right now is so skewed to one extreme that the reward favors the pendulum swinging the other way," Upadhyaya said.