Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's assurances that inflation will remain well-contained did nothing to bolster the ailing dollar, which hit a new 3-year-low yesterday during his press conference. The greenback has now fallen 6.5% so far this year as tracked by the ICE Dollar Index -- and slumped to another new low this morning.
Bernanke has an opinion on the economy, but so do millions of other participants -- and their actions drive the market prices of everything we trade. That's what we should watch.
So putting all the political haranguing and economic theory aside, the fact is the dollar remains an exceedingly weak asset with no objective indications of a bottom anytime soon.
Forex Still Rising:
CurrencyShares Mexican Peso (FXM), WisdomTree Indian Rupee, CurrencyShares Russian Rub le (XRU)) 9 months
Despite Bernanke's promises of maintaining the dollar's purchasing power, the greenback hasn't demonstrated any signs to suggest a reversal is underway. Beyond marking new yearly lows against the euro, Swiss franc, British pound and other components of the dollar index, the currency now stands at new multi-year lows against non-index currencies like the Mexican peso (tradeable via Currencyshare Mexican Peso (FXM)
All Through My Wild Days:
Reuters, March 27, 2002
Trends tend to persist, often longer than we'd ever expect, which could easily mean continued weakness for the dollar. Remember that while Latin America is now considered an attractive emerging market, it wasn't a decade ago when Argentina's currency devaluation threw that economy and its citizens' savings into shambles. "Each time I see the peso drop against the dollar, I see myself becoming poorer and poorer," construction worker Raimundo Hadad told the Washington Post back in 2002). By that time the Argentine currency had fallen to a record low against the dollar, having lost two thirds of its value over a matter of months amid hyperinflation that saw consumers hoarding staples as commodities prices soared.
Bernanke doesn't believe that nightmare could ever occur in the United States, but right now the market seems to think otherwise. Who do you believe?
Jonathan Hoenig is managing member at Capitalistpig Hedge Fund LLC . At the time of writing, Hoenig's Fund held positions in many of the securities mentioned.