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US Dollar May Rise Further as a Cautious Fed Spooks Markets

US Dollar May Rise Further as a Cautious Fed Spooks Markets

Ilya Spivak, Head Strategist, APAC


  • Dollar drops as risk appetite begrudgingly firms on upbeat US GDP data
  • FOMC likely to sound cautious, extolling patience and spooking markets
  • April jobs report might disappoint, amplifying global slowdown worries

Check out the latest US Dollar forecast and see what is expected to drive prices through mid-year!

Financial markets were surprisingly circumspect after first-quarter US GDP data roared past expectations, putting the annualized growth rate at 3.2 percent. Economists were calling for a substantially more modest 2.3 percent ahead of the release.

This might have been expected to excite investors, especially since US economic news-flow has been broadly deteriorating relative to baseline forecasts for months. In fact, bond yields fell, and the US Dollar put in a purely anti-risk performance, dropping as stock prices begrudgingly climbed into the close.

Furthermore, shares only found enough conviction to mount coherent gains close to two hours after the GDP report. The bellwether S&P 500 pointedly stopped short of cementing an upside breakout, failing to close above the 2018 high yet again. Taken together, that is hardly an enthusiastic endorsement.

Meanwhile, the Greenback’s pullback only narrowly trimmed what was otherwise a week of gains seemingly driven by jittery sentiment. What’s more, a gauge of the currency’s average value against its major counterparts broke from months of congestion to hit its highest level yet this year.

Timelier measures of the business cycle like PMI surveys endorsed the idea that growth perked up in the first quarter well before the GDP release, which might have depleted some market-moving potential. Worryingly, the same indicators also point to dramatic deceleration in April.


With that in mind, the spotlight turns to next week’s FOMC rate decision. March marked a decisively dovish pivot. The quarterly growth print notwithstanding, an ongoing slowdown in the global business cycle and lingering political risk by way of trade wars and Brexit are likely see the Fed extoll “patience” again.

If the degree of caution in policymakers’ tone appears to clash with the GDP report, investors may feel vindicated in treating the outcome with suspicion. The skeptics may be bolstered further if April’s jobs report subsequently disappoints, as leading surveys suggest it might.

The absence of a plausible rate hike outlook to be unwound in the wake of such news-flow suggests another purely risk-off US Dollar response may be in store. That would see the currency rise on haven demand as the Fed’s reticence amplifies already building concerns about a downshift globally.

--- Written by Ilya Spivak, Sr. Currency Strategist for

To contact Ilya, use the comments section below or @IlyaSpivakon Twitter



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