markets

Weak Dollar Could Bring Extra 3 Percent Boost to Trade Growth

The weak greenback may prove to be a boon for global trade.

On top of the boost already coming from robust global GDP growth, the dollar’s fall over the past year may add over 3 percent to the level of world trade, according to Gabriel Sterne, global head of macro research at Oxford Economics Ltd. Tipping further dollar weakness, the risks are skewed to the upside for Oxford’s baseline forecast for 5 percent growth in world trade in 2018.

"Falls in the value of the dollar oil the wheels of the global financial system, boosting global liquidity by strengthening balance sheets and alleviating currency mismatches," Sterne wrote in a note. "One important channel is variation in the differential between the cost of raising dollars onshore and offshore. Dollar weakness reduces the cross-currency basis, increases cross-border lending and boosts bank equities."

The biggest winners will likely be emerging economies given the weaker dollar will lower the value of their dollar-denominated debt, taking pressure off their balance sheets and from credit conditions more generally.

"The seven-year link between dollar strength and U.S. recovery (2009-16) now appears broken, and we think it will remain so, with relatively strong U.S. growth and a weakening dollar providing a significant boost to global activity," Sterne wrote.

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