There are no two ways about it: 2017 was a brutal year for U.S. dollar bulls. By mid-December, the world’s reserve currency had fallen against every one of its major rivals on the year, losing a staggering 12% against the euro and nearly 9% versus the British pound (see “Dollar daze,” below).
Many traders have been caught by surprise by the extent of the dollar’s decline over the last week. The USD Index fell below 91 for the first time since January 2015, and Friday’s 0.96% drop, was the second biggest since January 2017. More surprisingly, the U.S. data released over the last week certainly doesn’t justify a dollar selloff.
The big news today is that the dollar’s losses have sharply accelerated but without any fresh news. The economic calendar is light and U.S. stock markets will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day. This hasn’t stopped the Dow futures from melting up another 140 points.
Rumours surrounded this week going from shrinking Chinese appetite of U.S. bonds to speculation that the United States would pull out of NAFTA and while real economic indicators on Friday showed stronger U.S. inflation and retail sales it did little for the struggling US dollar. Economic growth outside of the US is accelerating and monetary policy is expected to tighten more abroad putting pressure on the greenback.
At the time of this writing, the U.S. dollar was still down against most major currencies. The greenback fell on the back of an earlier report from Bloomberg – citing people familiar with the matter – that China is considering reducing or halting its purchase of U.S. government debt.