On the heels of a Goldman Sach’s forecast that the US Federal Reserve will likely bring its rate hikes to a halt following the sudden onset of the banking crisis, the US dollar index, which measures the strength of the dollar against six other major world currencies, dropped to its lowest reading in a month on Monday. Trading data showed that it fell 0.6%, to 103.9 as of 09:00 GMT.
Goldman Sachs had previously forecast a 25 basis point hike at the upcoming March Fed meeting. However, after the sudden failures of Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank, and the announcement by US regulators on Sunday that they were launching a new emergency program to protect banks, Goldman revised its forecast, predicting the Federal Reserve would pause its rate hikes to avoid exacerbating the situation.
In the Sunday announcement, the US Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said they would make a “systemic risk exception” which would allow insured and non-insured depositors to access their deposits in the failed banks. The Fed also announced separately it would create a new Bank Term Funding Program, which would make additional funding available to banks in cases of emergencies.
In light of all that the Federal Reserve may have to contend with now, as it sorts through the fallout from the bank failures, investors have been concluding the Fed may be hesitant to risk exacerbating the situation through continuing to hike interest rates in the near term.
Historically there is a correlation between the failures of overleveraged financial institutions and higher interest rates. In the case of Silicon Valley Bank, one of the factors which triggered its initial bank run was the revelation it had been forced to sell Treasuries at a loss to generate capital. It had purchased the Treasuries when interest rates were lower, and the higher interest rates today meant they were not as attractive by comparison.
Some analysts however say the US inflation data to be released on Tuesday may also affect Fed decision-making.
Prior to last week, experts had been expecting the Fed to enact at least three more rate hikes this year, bringing the key rate to a range of 5.25%-5.5%.