James Pethokoukis

A stronger dollar on the way?

October 16, 2009

The conclusion from this interesting VoxEU piece:

In short, in contrast with growing dollar scepticism and even though US external accounts continue to point to dollar weakness despite the recent correction, the fast rebound of the US economy and the undoing of the monetary stimulus may deliver higher rates in lieu of a weaker dollar in 2010.

The bull case on the dollar

October 13, 2009

Scott Grannis, the Calafia Pundit, plots a currency course that does’t turn America into a third-world economy:

The next big political issue? The U.S. dollar

October 12, 2009

The state of the dollar probably hasn’t been a first-tier political issue in the United States since, say, the presidential election of 1896. Back then, it manifested as whether or not America would stay on the gold standard or switch to a bimetallic one. (The William Jennings Bryan “cross of gold” speech and all that.)

Will Bernanke save the dollar like Volcker did?

October 9, 2009

David Goldman over at the Inner Workings blog, notes a key anniversary:

Inflation had crossed into double digits after four years of mismanagement by the Carter administration. The gold price was rising (and about to hit an all-time record when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan the following Christmas). America’s international position had collapsed; the European elites believed that America would lose the Cold War; America was in deep recession even while inflation soar. Volcker had no choice but to raise the federal funds rate to 15%. The dollar stabilized but the US economy went into free fall.

How to get a strong dollar

October 8, 2009

The enlightening David Malpass in the WSJ:

Measured in euros (a more stable ruler than the ever-weakening dollar), U.S. real per capita GDP is down 25% since 2000, while Germany’s is up 4% and tops ours. The solution is a strong U.S. jobs and wealth program. It has to include stable money, a flatter, more competitive tax structure, spending restraint, and common-sense bank regulation so small business lending can restart. Treasury has to rapidly lengthen the maturity of the national debt and take steps to protect the Fed from market losses on its long-term debt holdings.

More on the erosion of dollar dominance

October 7, 2009

Justin Fox of Time echoes my thoughts on the dollar, that its currency dominance has enabled massive deficit spending by the United States:

Is dollar supremacy a false economic god?

October 6, 2009

Lots of folks are in a tizzy about this report of an Arab-Russian-French-Chinese plot (sounds like a typical episode of 24) to stop using the dollar in oil trading. Add to this a) the already declining dollar, b) the rise in gold and c) the recent speech by Robert Zoellick where he warned about dollar threats and you have d) visions of a dollar apocalypse and the end of America as we know it.

Obama, the Un-Reagan when it comes to the dollar and stocks

October 2, 2009
David Goldman notices the tight relationship of the dollar and the stock market, comparing it to the Reagan years.
We have only had one period in which the dollar and the stock market were so correlated, and that is in 1983-1984, the beginning of the great Reagan stock market rally. The world bought the dollar and sold the US economy, before the Mundell twist (tight money and lower marginal tax rates) kicked in and the Reagan recovery began. Now we have the opposite: The dollar is selling off in tight correlation with rising stock prices, again with rising stock prices. Think of Obama as the un-Reagan: rather than a monetary squeeze hurting stocks, monetary easy is helping stocks, as the world goes to the great American fire sale assets. We’ve had an un-rally, and now it’s going undone. … This is a unique situation: never before has the US stock market traded as if it were a banana-republic equity market reprices to the dollar. Now the stock market is repricing to a basket of alternatives to the dollar. That doesn’t spell the end of the dollar as a reserve currency, at least not for the foreseeable future. As former Fed chairman Paul Volcker told Charlie Rose last night, there’s no alternative to the dollar. Bt that’s for now. Keep it up, and the world will eventually find a substitute for the dollar.

Should America embrace a weaker dollar?

September 24, 2009

Does Ben Bernanke care about the dollar? Larry Kudlow doesn’t think so:

Today’s FOMC policy announcement from the Federal Reserve basically sends a message that Bernanke & Co. doesn’t care one wit about the sinking dollar or the rising gold price. In fact, the latest policy directive removes last month’s reference to commodity-price increases, while there is no reference to the greenback at all. The central bank is going to keep buying mortgages and adding to its balance sheet of high-powered money creation. … The bottom line is that the Fed is going to continue to create an excess supply of new dollars, which is why the dollar exchange rate is likely to keep falling while gold and other commodities keep rising. Today’s incipient inflation will become much more pronounced in the next year or two. Helicopter Ben is not turning into King Dollar Ben. Actually, I believe the Fed and the Treasury want to nurture a cheaper dollar to boost U.S. exports as a means of fine-tuning stronger economic growth through the international channel. But there is no exit strategy from dollar creation. That’s gonna wait well into next year.

The worrisome relationship between a strong stock market and a weak dollar

August 26, 2009

The dollar drops and stock rise. If the dollar is supposed to be a reflection of economic strength, this should tend not to happen.  David Goldman find this weird, too — and then explains it: