Americas: Economic overview

December 2016

Central banks in the Americas have reacted in different ways to the strengthening dollar, and their responses have implications for gas and LNG imports.

The United States dollar index, which reflects the strength of the dollar against major global currencies, has averaged 101.3 so far in December – its highest level since December 2002. In December, the Federal Reserve hiked its interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.5% to 0.75%, which is boosting the strength of the index. It is also being supported by the expectation of higher long-term inflation as a result of the policies of President-elect Donald Trump. The dollar has been acting as a safe haven for investors in the wake of populist developments in Europe such as the Brexit vote, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s defeat in the Italian referendum and the upcoming polls in France and Germany.

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