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Chart of the Week : Real Effective Exchange Rates (EUR and USD)

Macro
CD
Christopher Dembik

Head of Macro Analysis

Summary:  In today’s ‘Macro Chartmania’, we focus on the Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER). All the data are collected from Macrobond and updated each week.


Click to download this week's full edition of Macro Chartmania composed of more than 100 charts to track the latest macroeconomic and market developments.

The below chart shows the Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) for the euro and the U.S. dollar. This is the weighted average of a country’s currency against a basket of other major currencies. It is used for international comparisons, especially by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, for instance. Currently, the U.S. dollar is 27 % too high compared to the euro, based on the REER. The last time the gap was so wide was when the outbreak started in 2020. This is only the beginning, in our view. U.S. dollar net speculative positioning continues to increase at a speedy pace. Several factors are pushing investors to look for the default safe haven : risk of technical recession or stagflation in several developed economies (France, Germany and the United Kingdom, for instance), skyrocketing commodity prices (especially for agricultural goods due to the Ukraine war and the drought in India), equity bear market, lockdowns in China which will push down global GDP growth this year, persistent inflationary pressures (resulting from supply chain disruptions and higher wage compensations, amongst other things) etc. From a technical point of view, the USD is likely to move upward in the short-term. We expect that risk-off waves will push the DXY index well above 105.00. The EUR/USD is likely to remain under pressure too.

How long do you think this can go on before something snaps ? My bet : the European Central Bank (ECB) will have no other options but to increase interest rates at the July meeting to bring support to the EUR and close the gap with the U.S. dollar. Timing is everything : the July meeting will take place just one day after the release of the first estimate of the eurozone Q2 GDP. If the Governing Council decides to move forward with a rate hike, this would reduce imported inflation, in theory. The ECB is caught between a rising dollar and a weak euro. This is simply intolerable. Several governing council members, including those considered as the most pragmatic, are now leaning in favor of a rate increase and exiting negative rates by the end of the year (Banque de France’s Villeroy de Galhau, for instance). This will certainly not solve from one day to another inflationary pressures within the eurozone (inflation is partially driven by external forces such as commodity prices). But it will at least reduce the FX-passthrough into inflation which is becoming problematic. 

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