Dollar weakness

The serial bailouts by the U.S. government and Hank Paulson’s $700 billion bailout proposal have had very negative repercussions for the U.S. Dollar. The dollar is down against all major currencies, as well as gold, silver and oil. It seems likely that the dollar will resume it’s slide after a brief respite over the past few months.

I looked at the dollar’s recent strength as a boon for the U.S. economy as it slowed inflation. But, now that it is clear that the U.S. will not escape this credit crisis without a huge buildup in debt and a general monetization of that debt through the Fed’s printing electronic presses. The result will be a weaker dollar and continued higher inflation, limiting the Fed’s potential policy responses.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson‘s plan to end the rout in U.S. financial markets may derail the dollar’s three-month rally as investors weigh the costs of the rescue.

The combination of spending $700 billion on soured mortgage-related assets and providing $400 billion to guarantee money-market mutual funds will boost U.S. borrowing as much as $1 trillion, according to Barclays Capital interest-rate strategist Michael Pond in New York. While the rescue may restore investor confidence to battered financial markets, traders will again focus on the twin budget and current-account deficits and negative real U.S. interest rates.

“As we get to the other side of this, the dollar will get crushed,” said John Taylor, chairman of New York-based International Foreign Exchange Concepts Inc., the world’s biggest currency hedge-fund firm, which manages about $15 billion.

The dollar fell against 14 of the world’s most-traded currencies on Sept. 19, including the euro, as Paulson unveiled the plan, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 4 percent. The plan may end the rally that began in June and drove the U.S. currency up 10 percent versus the euro, 2 percent against the yen and almost 13 percent compared with Brazil’s real, strategists said.

Paulson’s plan, sent to Congress Sept. 20, would mark an unprecedented government intrusion into markets and increase the nation’s debt ceiling by 6.6 percent to $11.315 trillion. Officials may also start a $400 billion Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. pool to insure investors in money-market funds.

Dollar `Downdraft’

“The downdraft on the dollar from the hit to the balance sheet of the U.S. government will dwarf the short-term gains from solving the banking crisis,” said David Woo, London-based global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays, the third- biggest currency trader, according to a 2008 survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc.

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