Underscoring the dollar’s weakness, the PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEArca: UUP), the exchange traded fund proxy for the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), fell more than 9% in 2017 and stumbled into the end of the year with a December loss of about 1%.
UUP tracks movements against a basket of currencies including euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc. The U.S. dollar is strengthening on a number of factors. For instance, the U.S. index of business conditions rose to a three-year high, adding to the improving U.S. economic outlook.
After its worst performance in 14 years, it would make sense that the beaten-down dollar should rebound next year, especially with the Fed raising interest rates and an oncoming gusher of fiscal stimulus from tax cuts,” reports CNBC. “But some strategists instead see the dollar continuing its decline, which started in the early days of 2017, as it competes with other currencies in a period of synchronized global growth.”
Obviously, UUP’s slack year-to-date showing indicates shorting the dollar has been the right way to play the U.S. currency. It may also imply that shorting the dollar has been easy. Moreover, the dollar’s 2017 struggles could be a sign that shorting the greenback is a trade with too many participants.
“What could change the course for the dollar is if the Federal Reserve ratchets up its forecast for interest rate increases,” according to CNBC. “The central bank currently expects to hike three times, but some Wall Street economists are now expecting four because of the tax cuts and improved growth. They say the Fed could revise its forecast after its March meeting.”
Although the dollar and UUP have struggled against the backdrop of two interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, some currency market observers see potential for the greenback to rally in the second half of 2017. The rising euro has also been a problem for the dollar, but some market observers believe the common currency is set to pullback.
Traders considering a bearish position on the dollar can consider the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish (NYSEArca: UDN), an inverse though not leveraged bet against the greenback.
For more information on the USD, visit our U.S. dollar category.