The Euro Is Heading for Parity Against the Dollar

ICEUS:DX1!   U.S. Dollar Index Futures
The US dollar and the euro are the world’s reserve currencies. Political and economic stability and free convertibility are the requirements for reserve currency status. Central banks and governments worldwide gold the US and European currencies as reserve assets.

The exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro is multifactorial. Interest rate differentials, political trends, and other issues determine the value of each foreign exchange instrument versus the other. The euro has been around since January 1, 1999, and euro notes and coins were only available two decades ago, in 2002. The euro currency opened for trading in the futures market in April 2001 at an exchange rate of $0.8760 versus the US dollar.

The euro first rose above parity with the US currency in July 2002. The last time it was below was in December 2002, but the recent exchange rate price action and the factors determining currency values could send the euro back to levels not seen in two decades.

New highs in the dollar index- Approaching the test of the 2020 high

The US dollar index has a 57.6% exposure to the euro currency. Since January 2021, the dollar index has been on a bullish path, making higher lows and higher highs.

As the chart highlights, the dollar index futures contract moved from a low of 89.165 in early January 2021 to the most recent high of 103.950 on April 28, 2022, a 16.6% rise. The index is approaching a critical technical resistance level.

The long-term chart shows the upside target stands at the March 2020 103.960 high, the highest level for the index since 2022. A break above that level will make the next upside target the July 2001 121.290 high. A move towards that level would push the euro below parity against the US dollar for the first time in two decades.

Lower lows in the euro versus the US dollar foreign exchange relationship

A bearish trend in the euro versus the US dollar currency relationship is nothing new.

The chart shows the euro reached an all-time high against the dollar in July 2008 at $1.6038. Since then, it has been all downhill for the European currency. The euro reached a low of $1.03405 in January 2017. After a recovery took the euro to above the $1.25 level in February 2018, the downtrend resumed, and it was approaching the early 2017 low on April 29 at below the $1.075272 level. A move below the $1.03405 level makes the target the critical psychological parity level.

Herding cats- The European economic challenge

The European Union is a collection of countries with diverse cultures. Moreover, economic policy is a blend of different orientations to monetary and fiscal policies.
Southern Europe has depended on tourism and has had a far looser approach to economic management than the austerity of the north. The north has been the industrial powerhouse, providing financial stability for the Union.

Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are far different economies than Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Policy agreement between the Union members has been like herding feral cats over the past two decades. The north has bailed out the south routinely, causing stress on relationships within the Union and pressure on the euro currency.

Cultural differences have been the borders since the establishment of the European Union and continue to be a factor that impacts the euro’s value.

War on the border- An aggressive Russia is bad news for the euro

In early 2022, the European Union is facing its most challenging test since its birth. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine launched the first major war in Europe since WW II. Russian aggression is a challenge to NATO countries, particularly those bordering the former Soviet Empire. Over the coming years, European military budgets will need to dramatically increase to provide safety and deterrence against the Russian aggressor. As military spending rises, it is likely to pressure the euro currency as the Union faces new threats that transcend the costs of the cultural divide between the northern and southern countries. The threat will likely unify the north and south, but the price tag for unification will be staggering.

Rising US rates are another nail in the euro’s coffin- Parity is only the first stop – The trend is your friend

In currencies, exchange rates are highly sensitive to interest rate differentials. The US dollar and euro are the world’s reserve currencies. The US central bank has shifted its monetary policy path to a more hawkish approach with inflation. raging.

The March consumer and producer price indices rose by 8.5% and 11.2%, respectively. The US Fed ended its quantitative easing in March 2022 and will quickly shift to quantitative tightening, allowing debt securities to roll off its swollen balance sheet at maturities. The FOMC will increase the short-term Fed Funds rate by at least 50 basis points at this week’s May 4 meeting. US short-term interest rates are going nowhere but higher.

Meanwhile, the US 30-Year Treasury bond futures have been a falling knife, pushing interest rates higher further out along the yield curve.

The chart shows the decline in the long bond futures since the March 2020 high. The most recent 138-14 low on April 20, 2021, took the bellwether government bond futures to the lowest level since November 2018. Critical technical support stands at the October 2018 136-16 low. Below there, the next target is the 2013 127-23 low.

A falling bond market and higher interest rates make the dollar more attractive than the euro. Europe cannot afford to increase interest rates and keep pace with the US dollar interest hikes because of its economic and geopolitical landscapes. Therefore, the dollar’s bullish trend will likely continue over the coming weeks and months.

Bull and bear markets rarely move in straight lines. Currency markets tend to experience far lower volatility than stocks, bonds, commodities, and other asset classes as governments manage price moves with intervention to provide stability. However, technical and fundamental factors support the path to parity for the dollar and euro currencies. In 2000, the euro reached $0.8901 against the dollar, the long-term technical target.

A stronger dollar and weak euro will have significant ramifications for markets across all asset classes, but the currency markets are a mirage as they trade in a vacuum. A trip to the supermarket, gas pump, or purchasing any goods or services in dollars reveals that the US currency has lost substantial purchasing power over the past year. The dollar may be strong against the euro, and it looks set to continue the current path, but all fiat currencies are losing power. As one strategist said the dollar is “the cleanest shirt in the dirty laundry.”

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