LONDON (Reuters) – (John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own) The U.S. dollar has recently appreciated to its highest level in real terms since the start of 2017 and before that September 2003. Dollar appreciation weighed on oil prices in 2018 as prices in some non-dollar currencies hit record levels earlier in the year and dampened consumption growth. Yet there are signs that the dollar’s rise may be coming to an end as trade tensions with China weigh and pressure to raise rates dissipates, lifting prospects for oil prices to recover. For now, dollar strength has helped hold down U.S. inflation even as unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in decades. But it has contributed to a worsening trade deficit and cut the dollar value of overseas earnings of U.S.-based companies. The United States is currently running a mix of expansionary fiscal policy (tax cuts and increased spending on the military) and a less accommodative or contractionary financial policy (rising interest rates). The consequence is an improvement in the trade-off between employment and inflation (internal balance) but a deterioration in the trade deficit (external balance). Exchange rate movements have suppressed inflation despite the… continue reading
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