As we attempt to spend and borrow our way to prosperity, America’s currency and financial reputation continue to fall.
The U.S. dollar slid against most major currencies Wednesday, hitting a five-month low of US$1.3775 against the euro and pushing the Canadian dollar up US1.21¢ to a seven-month high of US87.69¢.
John Curran, the senior corporate dealer at Canadian Forex, said the U.S. dollar would likely fall further in the next week, with the Canadian dollar likely reaching about US88.35¢, at which point it could break higher to test the US92.35¢ level.
“The U.S. dollar is continuing to slide as investor appetite is gaining momentum,” Mr. Curran said. “People are getting comfortable about taking on a little more risk.”
The rise in the Canadian dollar has moved in lock-step with the improvement in equity markets since March 9. Over this time, the S&P 500 has risen by 34%, the S&P/TSX composite index has gained 35% and the Canadian dollar has increased by 14%, equal to almost US11¢. Since Feb. 18, light-crude oil has risen by 46% to US$62.12.
But as risk appetite and equities improve, Mr. Curran said it was unlikely the U.S. dollar would embark on a long-term decline.
“While things are beginning to thaw, it doesn’t mean it’s full-on summertime just yet,” he said. “A lot of people are looking for the Canadian dollar to strengthen dramatically again towards par. I’m not sure about that just yet.”
Nevertheless, concern has been mounting that the increasing U.S. debt load, as well as a potential inflation time bomb in the form of the quantitative easing, could drag down the greenback. Garnering attention is the risk the United States could lose its triple-A sovereign credit rating, which reflects the chance of the borrower defaulting on its debt.
“By many measures, the U.S. appears just a few short steps away from losing its coveted triple-A status, unless the recovery turns out to be considerably stronger than expected and the fiscal repair is faster than commonly expected,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. “A downgrade could boost the cost of funding U.S. debt at the margin, but underlying inflation and fiscal fundamentals will ultimately be the primary driver.”
We’ve got a deficit of about $2 trillion this year. At least $1.2 trillion next year. About $10 trillion in expected red ink over the coming decade. Then there’s Medicare and Social Security going bust.
Enjoy the coming financial ride!