Citigroup - The Last Recourse Against Runaway Inflation? A Commensurately Greater Jump In The Dollar
Citi's head of FX, Steven Englander, has some contrarian observations on the fate of the US dollar, which a more nuanced read may even indicate a slightly conspiratorial bent, namely that in order to cut the surging global inflation dead in its tracks (alas, too late for the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt), the dollar will have to surge even more. To wit: "If the world’s inflation problem is primarily derived from rising commodity and food prices, it is very likely that a stronger USD will help mitigate this inflation quickly and efficiently. There is a well established relationship between USD strength and weaker commodity prices." Of course, with the Printing Dutchman at the helm, what hope is there for a sustainable strong USD thesis: "The problem is that there does not appear to be a market driver for USD strength." Yet this could very well be the contrarian trade going forward as the G-20 looks aghast at events in Africa and realizes that the "last case" scenario just seems that much more credible. If this happens and there a concerted effort to reincarnate the dollar, look for the EURUSD to plunge, and all USDXXX pairs to surge in the following days, especially as the carry funding shorts realize that they will once again, just like in late 2008, be the sacrificial lambs at the altar of "Kicking the can down the road one last time"-dom. Quote Englander: "During a similar high commodity price episode in mid-2008, we saw some evidence of high reserves growth, which is unusual when the private sector is buying dollars. Moreover, then as now, market macro investor positions appeared to be long commodities. While it would be unusual for reserve managers to buy USD for inflation stabilization reasons, as a quick solution to a major problem it may be more effective than most."
Full must read note from Citi, which may explain why Goldman suddenly high tailed it out of its 1.40 tactical EURUSD target without hitting it and just two days after the revision.
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