China Driving Dollar More Than Fed Hikes, BofA Strategists Say


(Bloomberg) — While much of the focus in currency markets right now is how the prospect of slowing Federal Reserve rate hikes has helped fuel dollar weakness, the biggest factor may be across the world in China.

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That’s according to Bank of America Corp. strategists, who tracked a measure of Chinese “reflation assets” against a dollar index. The correlation between the two, which has tightened since November, suggests sentiment around China’s emergence from Covid-19 lockdowns will continue to move the greenback.

“The recovery in China reflation sentiment has likely been an important driver of dollar depreciation, potentially more than US rates which have not fallen much,” wrote strategists Adarsh Sinha and Janice Xue in a note dated Tuesday.

The ICE US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against six of its global peers, has slipped about 10% since a two-decade high in September. A Bloomberg gauge of strength in the currency has has lost roughly the same amount over that period.

The moves gathered pace in November as the faster-than-expected resumption of mobility across China bolstered demand for risk-sensitive assets. Easing US inflation expectations have also accelerated the dollar’s depreciation this year as funds sold last year’s favored haven asset.

Read more: Goldman, UBS Join Bullish Bets on Global Assets as China Reopens

Some currencies have overshot their expected moves relative to the dollar, according to Bank of America’s regression analysis based on China’s reopening alone. The euro and yen stand out, in part because of recent hawkish surprises from their central banks.

On the flip side, the Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone have strengthened less than the China-focused analysis would suggest, the strategists found.

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