BlackRock CEO Plays Down Dollar's Slide

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

BlackRock chief executive Laurence Fink has played down the U.S. dollar's recent sharp slide, saying investors and the media are making "way too much" out of statements from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Speaking alongside Mr. Mnuchin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Mr. Fink said recent moves are par for the course in currency markets.

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"I think we are making way too much out of statements from the Secretary," Mr. Fink said.

Mr. Fink, who runs the world's largest asset manager, said he expects the dollar to strengthen when tax reforms lead to the U.S. economy accelerating.

"This is the normal course of markets, markets move around...it is the media's job to make velocity and noise," Mr. Fink said.

Mr. Mnuchin appeared to play down earlier comments which had helped push down the dollar, and said "in the long term I fundamentally believe in the strength of the dollar."

"In the short term where the dollar is not a concern of mine, and it is not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. There are benefits and there are costs of where the dollar is, depending on which side of the table you are," Mr. Mnuchin said.

The ICE U.S. dollar index edged down 0.2% Thursday after falling to its lowest level since late 2014 on Wednesday.

On international trade, Mr. Mnuchin said the U.S. is open for business and would pursue "fair trade" in its dealings with other countries.

The U.S. imposed steep tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines earlier this week, in one of the most robust signs of President Donald Trump's promised America First trade policy.

Mr. Mnuchin did not address the tariffs specifically, but said: "We couldn't be happier with the response we are getting from American companies, from international companies, that the U.S. is open for business."

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, sitting on the same panel, said any measures which slow down international trade "would be of concern."

"Not everything is perfect at the moment, but any measures that would restrict trade would hurt growth," Mrs. Lagarde said.

Mr. Mnuchin replied he shared her view. "The US probably has the most open trading market in the world," he said.

Write to Philip Georgiadis at Philip.Georgiadis@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 25, 2018 07:20 ET (12:20 GMT)

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