Each main foreign money on the planet has fallen in opposition to the U.S. greenback this yr, an unusually broad shift with the potential for severe penalties throughout the worldwide economic system.

Two-thirds of the roughly 150 currencies tracked by Bloomberg have weakened in opposition to the greenback, whose current power stems from a shift in expectations about when and by how a lot the Federal Reserve could lower its benchmark rate of interest, which sits round a 20-year excessive.

Excessive Fed charges, a response to cussed inflation, imply that American property provide higher returns than a lot of the world, and buyers want {dollars} to purchase them. In current months, cash has flowed into the USA with a drive that’s being felt by policymakers, politicians and other people from Brussels to Beijing, Toronto to Tokyo.

The greenback index, a typical method to gauge the overall power of the U.S. foreign money in opposition to a basket of its main buying and selling companions, is hovering at ranges final seen within the early 2000s (when U.S. rates of interest had been additionally equally excessive).

The yen is at a 34-year low in opposition to the U.S. greenback. The euro and Canadian greenback are sagging. The Chinese language yuan has proven notable indicators of weak point, regardless of officers’ acknowledged intent to stabilize it.

“It has by no means been more true that the Fed is the world’s central financial institution,” stated Jesse Rogers, an economist at Moody’s Analytics.

When the greenback strengthens, the results could be quick and far-reaching.

The greenback is on one aspect of almost 90 p.c of all international trade transactions. A strengthening U.S. foreign money intensifies inflation overseas, as nations have to swap extra of their very own currencies for a similar quantity of dollar-denominated items, which embrace imports from the USA in addition to globally traded commodities, like oil, typically priced in {dollars}. International locations which have borrowed in {dollars} additionally face greater curiosity payments.

There could be advantages for some international companies, nonetheless. A powerful greenback advantages exporters that promote to the USA, as People can afford to purchase extra international items and companies (together with cheaper holidays). That places American firms that promote overseas at an obstacle, since their items seem costlier, and will widen the U.S. commerce deficit at a time when President Biden is selling extra home business.

Precisely how these positives and negatives shake out depends upon why the greenback is stronger, and that depends upon the explanation U.S. pursuits charges may stay excessive.

Earlier within the yr, unexpectedly robust U.S. progress, which may elevate the worldwide economic system, had begun to outweigh worries over cussed inflation. But when U.S. charges stay excessive as a result of inflation is sticky whilst financial progress slows, then the results may very well be extra “sinister,” stated Kamakshya Trivedi, an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

In that case, policymakers could be caught between supporting their home economies by slicing charges or supporting their foreign money by preserving them excessive. “We’re on the cusp of that,” Mr. Trivedi stated.

The robust greenback’s results have been felt notably sharply in Asia. This month, the finance ministers of Japan, South Korea and the USA met in Washington, and amongst different issues they pledged to “seek the advice of intently on international trade market developments.” Their post-meeting assertion additionally famous the “severe issues of Japan and the Republic of Korea concerning the current sharp depreciation of the Japanese yen and the Korean received.”

The Korean received is the weakest it has been since 2022, and the nation’s central financial institution governor just lately referred to as strikes within the foreign money market “extreme.”

The yen has been tumbling in opposition to the greenback, and on Monday briefly slipped previous 160 yen to the greenback for the primary time since 1990. In sharp distinction to the Fed in the USA, Japan’s central financial institution started elevating rates of interest solely this yr after struggling for many years with low progress.

For Japanese officers, meaning placing a fragile stability — improve charges, however not by an excessive amount of in a approach that would stifle progress. The consequence of that balancing act is a weakened foreign money, as charges have stayed close to zero. The chance is that if the yen continues to weaken, buyers and customers could lose confidence within the Japanese economic system, shifting extra of their cash overseas.

The same danger looms for China, whose economic system has been battered by an actual property disaster and sluggish spending at residence. The nation, which seeks to carry its foreign money inside a good vary, has just lately relaxed its stance and allowed the yuan to weaken, an illustration of the stress exerted by the greenback in monetary markets and on different nations’ coverage choices.

“A weaker yuan just isn’t an indication of power,” stated Brad Setser, a senior fellow on the Council on International Relations and former Treasury Division economist. “It can result in questions on whether or not China’s economic system is as robust as folks thought.”

In Europe, policymakers on the European Central Financial institution have signaled that they may lower charges at their subsequent assembly, in June. However even with inflation enhancing within the eurozone, there’s a concern amongst some that by decreasing rates of interest earlier than the Fed, the E.C.B. would widen the distinction in rates of interest between the eurozone and the USA, additional weakening the euro.

Gabriel Makhlouf, governor of Eire’s central financial institution and one of many 26 members of the E.C.B.’s governing council, stated that when setting coverage, “we are able to’t ignore what’s taking place within the U.S.”

Different policymakers are confronting related problems, with central banks in South Korea and Thailand amongst these additionally contemplating decreasing rates of interest.

Against this, Indonesia’s central financial institution unexpectedly raised charges final week, partly to assist the nation’s depreciating foreign money, an indication of how the greenback’s power is reverberating world wide in numerous methods. Among the fastest-falling currencies this yr, like these in Egypt, Lebanon and Nigeria, replicate home challenges made much more daunting by the stress exerted by a stronger greenback.

“We’re on the sting of a storm,” Mr. Rogers of Moody’s stated.

Eshe Nelson contributed reporting.