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Dollar strength weighs on Fed rate-setters (Sam Fleming, Financial Times) The rapid climb of the U.S. dollar is reflective of two things: (1) the perceived strength of the U.S. economy and (2) the race to devalue among other major currencies. The dollar's rise has hurt foreign earnings at major multinationals like Apple, IBM and Procter & Gamble and is driving up the cost of the country’s exports, worsening America’s trade balance. (See graph below.) But the decline in the growth rate for U.S. export trade occurred while there was a relatively slow appreciation for the currency (up a very few percent from the beginning of 2011 to the end of 2013. By comparison the growth in value of U.S. exports was impacted to a lesser extent as the dollar shot up in the second half of 2014. If the appreciation of the dollar continues (which is very likely should the Fed raise interest rates the already low growth rate for exports could turn negative. This is one of the factors that could give pause at the Fed during interest rate discussions.
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