Forget doom-laden headlines, the dollar has not gone into terminal decline | Barry Eichengreen


Too much is being read into the greenback’s recent weakening against the euro

The dollar is in freefall! The global greenback is doomed! screamed recent headlines. Actually, such sensational headlines are “too sensational”, to echo that noted authority on currencies, Miss Prism, in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

The dollar’s fall in July to a two-year low against the euro was the immediate impetus for these stories. In fact, the dollar’s recent slide is one in a series of readily explicable fluctuations. When the Covid-19 pandemic went global in March, the dollar strengthened on the back of safe-haven flows into US Treasuries, as it does at the start of every crisis. By May, the Federal Reserve, acting as global lender of last resort, had accommodated this mad scramble for dollars by pouring buckets of liquidity into financial markets and the greenback gave back its early gains.

When seeking to understand events, we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good

Related: What the weakening dollar means for the global economy

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