A top currency strategist is predicting an ugly quarter for the dollar.
Brown Brothers Harriman’s Win Thin warns the nation’s inability to contain the coronavirus pandemic as effectively as other countries is spooking the market.
“This is one of the rare occasions when Europe will actually outperform the U.S.,” the firm’s global head of global currency strategy told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Thursday. “The stars are aligned against the dollar.”
The dollar index is on track for its seventh negative week in a row. It has declined more than 7% over the last three months. On Thursday, the index closed at 92.79.
And, it may be about to drop further. Thin sees the greenback testing the 2018 low before year’s end.
“I do suspect given the cyclicals, we’ll test the downside of that range, and for the DXY [dollar index] that’s around 88,” said Thin. “So, we’ve got some ways to go.”
Thin turned bearish on the currency in April when the Federal Reserve began flooding the market with dollars as part of its aggressive virus relief plan.
Despite his negative outlook, Win is not in the long-term dollar collapse camp.
“The debate is between whether it’s a structural or cyclical decline,” he said. “The Fed is being much more aggressive than other central banks, and the U.S. economy is likely to underperform in the coming months due to the pandemic. So to me, that’s a cyclical issue.”
Thin is also confident the damage will be contained.
“In normal times, the weaker dollar would tend to feed into inflation, right? Imported goods become more expensive,” said Thin. “But in this current environment, I’m not too worried about inflation.”
He believes importers will be forced to absorb the price increases.
“Given the 30 million people still out of work … it would be very difficult to pass on these higher costs to consumers,” added Thin. “Everyone is is looking for inflation on the radar screen, but I just don’t see it near-term.”
And, he’s ready to become constructive on the dollar later this year.
“If we can get the virus under control, you know maybe we can bottom in Q4,” Thin said. “I don’t think it’s the end of the dollar as we know it.”