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Dollar moves to lows of day after Scaramucci removed

Key Points
  • The dollar index moved to its lows of the day after Anthony Scaramucci was reported to be removed as White House communications director.
  • Strategists said it reflected uncertainty, but a political analyst said the move was necessary and shows that Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly is bringing order to the White House.
  • Scaramucci portrayed the White House as chaotic in a news report last week, where he was quoted criticizing former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House advisor Steve Bannon amid a string of profanities.
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The dollar touched its low of the day shortly after news reports that Anthony Scaramucci was removed as White House communications director.

"It's due to political uncertainty," said Marc Chandler, head of foreign exchange strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. The dollar was marginally lower but reversed much of its move.

The dollar index has moved about 2.9 percent lower in July, and it continued that trend Monday. The dollar has been moving lower amid uncertainty about the ability of Washington to move forward on tax and other policies. It is also reacting to doubt about the Fed's ability to raise interest rates as much as it has forecast.

Scaramucci was party to a high-profile feud with former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who left his position last week. Scaramucci was reported to have been removed at the request of Gen. John Kelly, who replaced Priebus.

"I think it removes some uncertainty. I think this is Kelly getting things in order," said Horizon Investments global strategist Greg Valliere. "It may look chaotic now … but he had to go."

Chandler agreed Kelly is trying to bring some semblance of order. "This underscores how disorderly things were before," said Chandler.

The dollar index, trending lower on policy uncertainty in Washington and easy Fed policy, was at 92.90 before the announcement and touched 92.84 shortly after it. Dollar/yen moved slightly lower. Treasurys were not impacted.

"It highlights the divergence between dollar/yen and the 10-year yield. They have historically held a pretty tight pattern, but over the course of the last two or three days, we've seen a meaningful shift and one that suggests dollar/yen needs to retrace some of its gains or Treasurys need to rally," said Ian Lyngen, BMO US rate strategist.

Lyngen said the yen usually moves higher at the same time as Treasurys. Yields move opposite price.

"That correlation has been strong since Trump's election. I guess it's a way of saying since equities can only seem to go in one direction, there are other assets that people are looking for as flights to quality. Instead of selling off in equities, you might see a rally in yen," he said.

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