Money in Motion

What to Do About QE3? Not What You Think

Bernanke is open to a third round of easing if needed - but these strategists are bullish on the dollar anyway.

He said it.

Pointing to "persistent" economic weakness, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that the Fed "remains prepared to respond," including, perhaps, with a third round of quantitative easing. Bernanke's comments came just hours before Moody's warned that the absence of a debt-ceiling deal could hurt the U.S.'s AAA credit rating.

The dollar immediately slid on the news, of course, but has since stabilized. So what do you do now?

Not what you might think, say several strategists.

"We believe that the most likely scenario is that the Moody’s statement provides motivation for a more serious push to a political compromise and USD selling on this factor may unwind," says Steven Englander, head of G10 currency strategy at Citigroup.

Englander and his colleagues see upside potential in the dollar against the yen   after some near term risks have passed.

In the near term, Englander and his colleagues wrote in a research note, investors who have been short the yen may be trying to cover their positions right now. Also, while demand for dollars from Japanese importers could increase, they say, based on historical post-disaster patterns, that might not start until September.

But Japanese officials are disturbed by the yen's current strength, and Japanese corporates could well step up their dollar buying down the road. The analysts see 77 as "a good level which we should support as the lower limit of this USDJPY decline."

Robert Sinche, global head of currency strategy at RBS Securities, also likes the dollar against the yen. "Over recent months we have been concerned about a downside "overshoot" as QE2 reached its final weeks and US economic data disappointed," he wrote in a note to clients.

Looking forward, Sinche expects second-half "growth of about 3.5%, enough to push US interest rate expectations meaningfully higher" and help the dollar. He sees Japanese production of autos and auto parts helping, along with lower gasoline prices.

Bernanke's comments didn't change his views, he told me, nor did comments from the Japanese expressing concern about the strong yen. "We hope this to be a 3-6 month position with a good reward/risk entry below 79.50," Sinche says.

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