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Getty Images. The episode, playing out in public, revealed the extent to which the Trump administration has considered the rare move of a currency intervention.
Trump dollar declarations show US currency move still in play
Trump has repeatedly pressured Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to lower borrowing costs and touched on those concerns as he discussed the dollar Friday. The US last intervened in FX markets in , when it stepped in along with other nations after the yen soared in the wake of a devastating earthquake in Japan. Wall Street The back and forth risks sowing confusion among trading partners and investors. Wall Street reacted to the news from Kudlow earlier Friday, with the Bloomberg dollar index touching a one-month high.
The comments from Trump contradicting his adviser came toward the end of the US trading day Friday and did little to budge the dollar against the yen or euro, two of its largest counterparts.
Kudlow said on CNBC that a White House meeting earlier in the week had produced a decision against a currency intervention. Advocates of intervention inside the administration argue that the strong dollar has been weighing on the US economy, and in particular manufacturing industries, at a crucial time. They point to declarations by the International Monetary Fund and other economists that the dollar is now overvalued on a trade-weighted basis. That could backfire on the administration and even undercut an interest rate reduction by the Fed.
In an extreme case it could spur a sell-off of US Treasuries by foreign investors and borrowing costs.
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Trump has a track-record of changing his mind on major policies at a whim, and often announces such shifts on Twitter. Global currency volatility is hovering near a five-year low, while one-year implied volatility in the euro-dollar pair touched a record low this month.
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The Trump administration appears to have softened the long-held US stance of supporting a strong dollar, instead favoring a stable exchange rate instead as it battles China in a trade war and threatens tariffs on other countries. Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are set to travel to Shanghai next week for the first face-to-face negotiations with Chin ese officials since talks broke down in May.
The agency in May proposed imposing countervailing tariffs on countries that it determines have devalued their currencies.