Agreeing to disagree about the DXY

One of the more interesting stories in markets last week was the disagreement about whether investors are bullish or bearish on the dollar. On the face of it, this is a silly debate. Clearly, sentiment has become significantly more positive on the dollar in the past three months, lifting the DXY index up by nearly 6% to a nine-month high of just under 95.0 at the start of Q3. On occasion, I nail my colours to the mast and try to come up with short-term ideas in equities and bonds, but I am generally loath to do it in FX markets. Currencies have a tendency to do the exact opposite of what macroeconomists predict that they will. Usually, the stronger the conviction of economists, the stronger the countermove. With that warning in mind, I think it’s worthwhile looking at the stories which currently are propelling the dollar. The macroeconomic argument for a stronger dollar is simple. The synchronised global recovery has become de-synchronised since the beginning of the year, and the U.S. economy has emerged head-and- shoulders above the rest. Not only that; Europe and China have slowed while the U.S. economy appears to have gathered strength in the second quarter. 

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