US growth prospects may overtake investor risk appetite as the biggest factor driving the dollar, says HSBC

US dollar bill
  • The US dollar surged after Friday’s jobs report that outstripped expectations.
  • The dollar’s jump indicates a “US exceptionalism” theme is growing in influence, says HSBC. 
  • HSBC said its work points to the potential of a floor under dollar selling is being formed. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US dollar immediately jumped after Friday’s blowout US jobs report for February. HSBC says that the move suggests prospects for US economic growth — or a theme of “US exceptionalism” — rather than risk appetite, are beginning to gain influence over the direction of the greenback.  

Risk appetite, or RORO, — the investment bank’s shorthand for “risk on-risk off” — was the dominant influence over the dollar throughout 2020, leaving the safe-haven greenback down relative to other currencies. But the battle during 2021 has turned “finely balanced” following hints that the US exceptionalism theme that stokes dollar buying and strength appeared to be growing in sway. 

“One of the key aspects of the dollar is normally ‘the trend is your friend’. And, of course, if that trend is ebbing or that momentum is not what it used to be, it’s causing a little bit of head-scratching and maybe an identity crisis for the dollar as to what matters,” Daragh Maher, head of FX strategy at HSBC, told Insider, outlining the bank’s new method of tracking what’s driving the dollar.

“So what we tried to do is say, ‘Let’s be dispassionate and just see how the dollar is actually behaving. What is the FX market telling us?” he said. The new DRIVERS (Dollar Response In Various Economic Release Surprises) signal includes measuring the dollar’s price action for 60 seconds against seven other currencies after an upside data surprise then comparing that with a level recorded a minute before a data release.

“What you’re trying to catch is people’s reflex rather than their more measured assessment,” Maher said before the Labor Department on Friday released its monthly employment report.

Jobs climb, dollar leaps

The report showed the US economy added 379,000 jobs in February, trouncing expectations of 200,000 new jobs. 

“The USD rallied initially after stronger US employment data, suggesting the theme of US exceptionalism is becoming more influential,” HSBC said in a statement to Insider on Friday. 

The rally underscored RORO’s stalled momentum this year in guiding the dollar’s direction. RORO is built on the theme of global reflation and is characterized by broad selling and weakness in the dollar after strong US economic data.

“What’s going on is people are thinking, ‘Hey, the US economy is doing much better, which means the global economy must be doing much better. So I’m going to start buying some riskier assets, which means I don’t need to hold a safe haven like the dollar,'” Maher said.

RORO’s influence last year in weakening the dollar had risen so much that its hold on the greenback tightened to levels not seen since 2013, HSBC said in a March 1 research note. 

Separate from HSBC’s analysis, the widely watched US Dollar Index ended 2020 by sliding 13% from mid-March 2020. That month, the index hit a three-year high on surging demand for dollars as the pandemic accelerated. So far in 2021, the index has gained more than 2%.

But the dollar’s leap after Friday’s jobs reports highlighted that traders were reacting to greater optimism about US growth partly as the US government moves toward unleashing a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package to combat the economic pain inflicted by the pandemic.

Growth prospects, in turn, can fuel speculation about the Federal Reserve’s next move on monetary policy. That perhaps “brings forward that taper conversation again. It brings forward people’s expectations of when US rates might go up,” said Maher. An interest rate hike by the Fed and tapering, or reducing, of the central bank’s bond purchases, could boost the dollar’s value and appeal.

To aid the economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Fed has kept its benchmark interest rate range at 0%-0.25% and has been buying $120 billion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities each month.

Maher said HSBC is not forecasting outright dollar strength this year. “What we’re suggesting is that this shift in relative influence will put a floor under dollar selling.”

The US exceptionalism theme took a brief hold over the dollar early in 2021 after some Fed officials indicated upside data surprises could lead to bond tapering this year. However, other Fed officials, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, pushed back against the taper talk.

“Over the next six months or so, we would expect to see some additional modest dollar weakens,” Maher said. “But as the US economy continues to recover — potentially boosted by additional fiscal stimulus – the narrative of Fed tapering and US exceptionalism is likely to become more influential towards the tail-end of this year.”

The DRIVERS signal tracks the dollar’s performance against the euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound, the Australian dollar, the Canadian dollar, the Swiss franc and the Mexican peso. HSBC tracks 30 data constituents of its US Economic Activity Surprise Index for DRIVERs.

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‘Framing Britney Spears’ explores the pop icon’s court battle over her estate – here’s how to watch the documentary on Hulu and FX

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Over the last 13 years, pop star Britney Spears has been subject to a conservatorship which prevents her from controlling the rights to her estate. And now, a new documentary titled “Framing Britney Spears” aims to shed light on the musician’s legal fight and her years under the media’s microscope.

Framing Britney Spears” is part of the “The New York Times Presents” series of documentaries, and aired as the sixth episode of the show on FX and Hulu. The film covers the musician’s past and the events that led up to the current court batter over her estate.

Since 2008, Spears has been under a conservatorship which grants her father, Jamie Spears, and a lawyer control over her financial and personal assets. Following the episode’s airing, new developments have already occurred which could alter the dynamic of the conservatorship.

Hulu and FX aren’t the only platforms exploring the life and career of Britney Spears. According to Bloomberg, Netflix is reportedly working on a Britney Spears documentary of its own. It’s unclear what aspect of Spears’ life the new doc will focus on, however, and there’s no release date yet.

If you haven’t tuned into “Framing Britney Spears,” here’s how you can watch the documentary everyone is talking about on Hulu and FX.

How to watch ‘Framing Britney Spears’

Framing Britney Spears” is now available to watch on Hulu and FXNow. Although the documentary is known as “Framing Britney Spears,” it’s listed on streaming services under its full title: “The New York Times Presents Framing Britney Spears.” 

The documentary is part of a series presented by both Hulu and FX, the latter of which aired the program for the first time on February 5.

If you don’t have a Hulu account, you can sign up for one and get a 30-day trial. After your trial is up, Hulu Basic costs $6 per month or $60 per year. As part of a special promotion, college students can get Hulu Basic for just $2 per month. Hulu Basic has commercials, however, so if you want ad-free playback you’ll need to sign up for the Hulu Premium plan for $12 per month plan. 

If you’re looking for even more streaming content, you can bundle Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN+ for $13 per month. That’s $6 less than you’d pay if you bought all three separately.

In addition to Hulu, you can also watch “Framing Britney Spears” through the FXNow app and website. FXNow is the FX cable network’s companion service for streaming shows and programs it airs on TV. The app, however, requires you to sign into a pay-TV account from a supported provider, such as AT&T TV, DirecTV, Verizon Fios, and Spectrum. 

Once you log in, you can use the FXNow app to watch “Framing Britney Spears” on your web browser, iOS device, Android device, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, and more.

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‘Framing Britney Spears’ dives into the entertainment industry’s treatment of the pop icon – here’s how to watch the documentary on Hulu and FX

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Anyone who read headlines in the mid 2000s is likely familiar with the entertainment industry’s criticism of Britney Spears and her career. That criticism is now the subject of a new documentary, titled “Framing Britney Spears,” which aims to examine the pop star’s years of unfair treatment under the media’s microscope.

Framing Britney Spears” covers the musician’s past and the events that led up to the current court batter over her estate. The documentary has caused media figureheads, like Perez Hilton, to apologize for their past coverage of the singer. Social media users have also asked pop singer Justin Timberlake to apologize for allegedly pointing blame at Spears for their fallout in the early 2000s.

Framing Britney Spears” has been the subject of debate and has caused celebrities and fans to reassess their previous treatment and opinions of the singer. Here’s how you can watch the documentary everyone is talking about on Hulu and FX.

How to watch ‘Framing Britney Spears’

Framing Britney Spears” is now available to watch on Hulu and FXNow. Although the documentary is known as “Framing Britney Spears,” it’s listed on streaming services under its full title: “The New York Times Presents Framing Britney Spears.”

The documentary is part of a series presented by both Hulu and FX, the latter of which aired the program for the first time on February 5.

If you don’t have a Hulu account, you can sign up for one and get a 30-day trial. After your trial is up, Hulu Basic costs $6 per month or $60 per year. As part of a special promotion, college students can get Hulu Basic for just $2 per month. Hulu Basic has commercials, however, so if you want ad-free playback you’ll need to sign up for the Hulu Premium plan for $12 per month plan. 

If you’re looking for even more streaming content, you can bundle Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN+ for $13 per month. That’s $6 less than you’d pay if you bought all three separately.

In addition to Hulu, you can also watch “Framing Britney Spears” through the FXNow app and website. FXNow is the FX cable network’s companion service for streaming shows and programs it airs on TV. The app, however, requires you to sign into a pay-TV account from a supported provider, such as AT&T TV, DirecTV, Verizon Fios, and Spectrum. 

Once you log in, you can use the FXNow app to watch “Framing Britney Spears” on your web browser, iOS device, Android device, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, and more.

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