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Green and Back

  • Date Submitted: 07/24/2013 01:47 AM
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The dollar is enjoying a rare period of strength. How far can the rally go?
Jul 13th 2013 |From the print edition


VISITORS to America this summer will find their money does not stretch quite as far as on previous trips. The dollar has risen this year against a broad range of currencies, so holiday purchases will be a bit pricier than usual. A strengthening dollar is a rare thing. The upward bursts in the early 1980s and the late 1990s were deviations from a generally falling trend. Since it was freed from the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates four decades ago, the dollar has mostly fallen in value against other rich-world currencies. But a growing band of analysts reckon it is time for the greenback to regain a bit of lost ground.

The immediate spur for optimism about the dollar is the recent signalling from the Federal Reserve that its purchases of bonds with newly created money may start to tail off as soon as September. The prospect of an end to quantitative easing has already pushed up long-term interest rates. The yield on ten-year Treasuries has risen to 2.6% from a low of 1.6% in May. As yields rise, capital is attracted to America from riskier parts of the world. That in turn pushes up the dollar.

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The deeper cause of the dollar rally is the relative health of America’s economy. Bad mortgage debts have been cleaned out of banks. The housing market is recovering. Jobs are growing steadily. Non-farm employers added 195,000 workers to their payrolls in June, in line with the average increase so far this year.

GDP growth has been modest even if it is likely to strengthen a bit. In an update to its projections, the IMF this week forecast that the American economy will grow by 2.7% next year. That is...

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