As of mid-November, the US dollar has become overvalued by about 11 percent. The prospect of fiscal stimulus and associated interest rate increases under the new US administration risks still further increases in the dollar. An even stronger dollar would widen the path of growing trade deficits already in the pipeline. As President-elect Donald Trump has attributed trade deficits largely to past trade agreement “disasters,” there is a corresponding risk of escalating trade policy conflict, in a perverse dynamic reminiscent of the initial years of Reaganomics.
In October 2016, the base month of this new set of fundamental equilibrium exchange rate (FEER) estimates, the US dollar was overvalued by 8 percent, about the same amount as identified in the three previous issues in this series. The real effective exchange rate (REER) of the dollar in October was 17 percent above its level in mid-2014. Given the two-year lag from the exchange rate signal to the trade outcome, the US current account deficit is on track to widen from 2.7 percent of GDP this year to nearly 4 percent by 2021.
The new estimates, all based on October exchange rates, again find a modest undervaluation of the yen (by 3 percent) but no misalignment of the euro and Chinese renminbi. The Korean won is undervalued by 6 percent. Cases of significant overvaluation besides that of the United States include Argentina (by about 7 percent), Turkey (by about 9 percent), Australia (by about 6 percent), and New Zealand (by about 4 percent). A familiar list of smaller economies with significantly undervalued currencies once again shows undervaluation in Singapore and Taiwan (by 26 to 27 percent), and Sweden and Switzerland (by 5 to 7 percent).
The data underlying this analysis are available here.