Friday, October 3, 2008

Understanding the recent dollar strength.

As American economy is breaking down like a 1986 Oldsmobile, some people are wondering why the dollar has been strengthening so much, and whether it is just a weakness in Euro, Yen, etc, that we see.

My opinion - it's real dollar strength, not just euro weakness. But it is very temporary.
Let me explain.

In the last 2 decades, money has been flowing into BRIC, lots of dollars, that were converted to local currencies. In order to keep their currencies down, BRIC started to buy dollars at an ever accelerated rate, now approaching 90$ billion per month.

Now enter financial crisis. As investors realize that their BRIC companies are going to turn into smoking craters and the notoriously corrupt 3rd world government may just confiscate all their money, investors pull out of emerging world.

So what we have is that suddenly many private investors flock back to the political stability of the dollar. At the same time, BRIC continues to buy dollars due to the force of sheer inertia (and they still have trade surplus).

What's important to realize is this whole process is temporary. Private flight cannot continue for too long, and will stop in a few months. Also, Foreign Central Banks can only buy dollars with money made from selling stuff to us. As soon as real consumer depression hits in US, that money flow will wither out and die and central banks will have no choice but to withdraw their dollar.

Now combine this with ever more reckless fiscal policy of US government, and we are setting ourselves up for the dollar crash of epic proportions, some number of months ahead. And by epic I mean, 50% drop within a span of 1 month would not be unrealistic.