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Yellen faces 'currency war' redux as she ditches a strong dollar
By Saleha Mohsin and Liz McCormick
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen faces one more headache on an agenda packed with everything from Covid-19 relief to addressing inequality and overhauling tax policy: tensions over foreign-exchange intervention.
The dollar has tumbled more than 13% from its high last March, thanks in part to historic moves by the Federal Reserve to pump liquidity into the financial system and pull down American borrowing costs. While policy makers abroad at first benefited from U.S. action to stave off a global credit crunch, the appreciation of their currencies more recently threatens to curtail their own recoveries. So from Europe to Thailand to Chile, officials have laid out plans for sustained intervention.
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For Yellen, who this month set herself apart from previous Democratic administrations by rejecting a return to a "strong dollar" policy, that could pose a challenge. The new Treasury chief just pledged to U.S. lawmakers she’d work on ways to "put effective pressure on countries that are intervening in the foreign exchange market to gain a trade advantage."
"What we are seeing is only the opening gambit of central banks responding to a weaker dollar environment," said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at Deutsche Bank, who has been analyzing markets for more than two decades. While the steps so far are short of en-masse manipulation, "this is something for the market and the incoming Biden administration to watch closely." ...
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