Aside from a slew of US economic data, including GDP and durable goods, today's key event will be Donald Trump's address at Davos at 8am EST, where attention will focus on the president's take on trade and currency "conflicts." Ahead of his main speech, however, Trump had a lengthy interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen in which he touched on everything from trade, to the market, to the government shutdown and immigration law, and of course, the role of the dollar.
Once again refuting recent anti-USD sentiment, Trump countered the market interpretation of Mnuchin’s comments, saying he "ultimately wants to see a strong USD".
“It’s your great reserve currency. There can never be anything even close to it. There is nothing close to it, there never will be,” Trump told CNBC, explaining that "we are doing so well, our country is becoming so economically strong again – and strong in other ways too, by the way – that the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger." Then, in a paradoxical twist, Trump said "nobody should be talking” about the dollar, "It should be what it is/"
Here is the full excerpt:
So let me tell you, I think they were taken out of context because I read his exact statement. I'll tell you where I stand, which ultimately is very important. Number one, I don't like talking about it because, frankly, nobody should be talking about it. It should be what it is. It should also be based on the strength of the country. We are doing so well, our country is becoming so economically strong again – and strong in other ways too, by the way – that the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger. And ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar. Right now it floats. But it's your great reserve currency. There can never be anything even close to it. There is nothing close to it, there never will be. But ultimately the dollar, because our country is going to get so much stronger economically, if you look at what's happened to our country over the – look, I've been talking about this with you for 25 years…
Trump's dollar endorsement triggered a temporary reversal of USD weakness on Thursday, although it has since continued to decline and his latest comments barely registered on the Bloomberg dollar index.
Touching on other key topics, Trump told Kernen that Democrats wouldn’t want another government shutdown "because you look at every poll, it said they made a mistake." More in the excerpt:
We want to do what's right and we're going to do what's right, and we're going to solve the DACA problem. And I don't think the Democrats would want to pull another shutdown. But we'll get it solved. And if we need a little more time, we'll take a little more time. I want to get the problem solved correctly
Trump also spoke about what he considers the impact of reduced regulations on U.S. gross domestic product:
Now, in my first quarter, which I consider to be the second quarter because I was there now long enough to have made an impact and don't kid yourself, regulations are just as big as the tax cuts. I've cut more regulations than any President in history and I've been here for one year. You can take their term whether it's eight years or 16 years in one instance— but you can take anybody you want, in one year, we've cut more regulations. And by the way, there's going to be regulation but they're good, solid, sane regulations. But in quarter two, we had 3.1, and in quarter three, as you know, we had 3.2. But in quarter one, which is the Obama quarter— really the last, I would say, Obama quarter, you had 1.2. We were going in the wrong direction.
As he has done a lot lately, Trump also took credit for the market's soaring performance, predicting that had Democrats won, the S&P would be 50% lower:
Not only did Jamie Dimon say he thought 3% [GDP] was possible, he said we could get to 4 percent in 2018. Lloyd Blankfein, and I pressed him a little because I said, "That was not the outcome – the election that you were, I think, hoping for. Now that you've seen what's happened to the stock market, up 40% since Election Day, how businesses are growing confidence, are you happy with the outcome?"...
Had the Democrat won — the stock market is up almost 50% since my election — had the Democrat won, I believe you would have been down 50. That's the direction we were headed. And you know, a lot of that, regulation. It was staggering. You could not do anything
Finally, looking at Trump's upcoming main event speech at Davos, Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs previewed: "Trump’s speech in Davos this morning will last about 15 minutes. He’ll talk about how he’s made the US attractive for business, a senior administration official told reporters. Trump won’t get the new GDP numbers until the speech is over, though, aide said." That said, Citi's FX desk doubts the America first message will be favorable for USD today.
Trump's full interview below: