The Battle of the Dollar has commenced

The Battle of the dollar has commenced.

The forces battling to squash the value of the greenback stretch from Washington to Beijing, with battle lines in Tokyo, London and Shanghai.

A strong dollar is crippling to the Chinese economy, since the yuan is pegged to the dollar and has already been devalued by 10% to keep prices in China from exploding.

The Trump Administration — despite not having Treasury-designate Steve Mnuchin’s Senate vote yet — still has spoke about the need for a weaker dollar to keep their pledge of improving trade exports and creating more jobs here. A strong dollar increases costs for salaries here in the US and raises the costs overseas of American-made products.

The collateral damage in this battle will be the stock market as equities fall on cheaper dollar. A cheaper dollar is inflationary and stocks despise inflation, but its a daily fight so trading will be choppy. I wrote about this earlier this month.

The question is who is on the other side of this trade battling central bankers and their deep pockets?

China and Russia are certainly defending their currencies in the global forex and bond markets. The complicated trades involving US sovereign debt has deep effects in currencies.

Selling Treasuries can cheapen the dollar and the converse is true. Look at yields in the last three weeks in US sovereign, which have dropped with increased buying of the debt.

The battle will continue for most of the year, since the Federal Reserve will not be able to raise rates until Q4 as I said earlier.

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The rollercoaster that is bitcoin

As I said on Wednesday, I do not advocate people use bitcoin as an investment.

Now I am not pumping bitcoin as an investment, I am using this as a new economic index to assess currency markets. I stress bitcoin is not an investment, since I do not think there is enough liquidity in the marketplace to make it safe for your future needs, due to volatility and perhaps hacking of bitcoin wallets.

It’s way too volatile as witnessed by yesterday’s $200 a bit drop over a few hours. And since it trades 24-7, you may not even know about the crash until you wake up.

The reasons behind the massive sell off has a few options. One is that the gains the last three coindesk-bpi-chartweeks have been huge and there needed to be a sell off to move higher. This is the old trading adage that no chart goes straight up.

Secondly, like the bitcoin crash of 2013, a Chinese government crack down is feared since the country accounts for a majority block of the trading as a means to move money out of the country, while also preserving wealth against a weakening yuan against the dollar. Nevermind that the yuan has a loose peg to the dollar, Beijing has been clamping down on both the exchange rate and the availability of yuan liquidity of the same time period of the last month.

At 5am EST on Thursday bitcoin was trading at $1,149, a mere 24 hours later it is at $940 level. The downside can be harsh, but the crypto-currency is still positive for 2017. That’s how fast it can move.

So caution to all and if you choose to get involved use capital you can stand to lose and wait for a bottom to be formed before jumping in.