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Trump’s impact on currency markets, and when to buy dollars

It may seem like longer but it’s just over a year since Clinton and Trump first began to trade blows in the US Presidential Election primaries. And a lot has happened since then, in currency markets and world politics.

Now that Trump is putting his first policies into place as 45th President of the United States, we take a look back at how the dollar has reacted to Trump’s journey to Presidency and how currency movements could affect you, your travel plans and your international payments in the coming year.

Polling day anticipation

In the run-up to election day the polls seemed to favour Hillary Clinton, and the markets were backing her to win. Donald Trump on the other hand was considered an outsider, with very little political experience.

Analysts believed that a Trump win would mean more uncertainty for the US and the wider global community. A Trump win was expected to create a lot of volatility in currency markets.

Whereas a Clinton win was expected to bring certainty to currency markets and therefore little volatility.

President-elect Trump

On November 9th 2016, the votes were in and Trump was announced as the President-elect, he didn’t win the popular vote but won in the all-important Electoral College system.

The volatility that was anticipated failed to materialise. Initial reaction saw dollar weaken and investment move to safe havens yen, euro and gold.

Trump’s victory speech then strengthened the dollar slightly. Trump briefly spoke of his plans to boost the US economy through infrastructure spending. The tone of his speech was also slightly more level-headed than we’d heard in the past.

Was this a new Trump we were seeing, one with less Twitter outbursts and controversial statements? Unlikely.

The pound enjoyed a slight recovery following Trump’s win. For the first time in five weeks sterling was worth $1.26, having sunk as low as $1.21 a month before – a rise of 4%.

Trump in power – when to buy dollars

Fast forward to January 20th for the presidential inauguration. The inauguration didn’t throw up too many surprises, for currency markets at least.

The dollar weakened slightly against most major currencies. However, the pound fell against the dollar due to negative data on December retail sales being published earlier in the day. The pound fell to as low as $1.2283.

But what can we expect from the dollar once Trump begins to implement his protectionist economy policies? And how do you decide when to buy dollars for travel or international payments to the USA?

There’s many factors that could influence the pound to dollar exchange rate this year: Yellen and Trump’s opposing views on interest rate changes, Trump’s attitude to global trade, Trump’s recent immigration controls and even news on Brexit developments.


As with the run-up to the election it’s impossible to accurately predict the direction of the exchange rate.

If you’re travelling to the USA this year you can know how many dollars you will get for your pounds by loading your FairFX Prepaid Mastercard® now. Load your Dollar Card to lock in today’s rate.

You can even sign up to our Rate Alert service and we’ll email you when the pound is having a good day.

If you’re making international payments this year speak to our dealing team to discuss your options to manage your risk and also make the most of market movements in your favour.

Mariette Ferreira

Mariette Ferreira

Mariette heads up marketing at FairFX. She loves travelling, scuba diving and South Africa, but she's yet to combine all three in one.


  1. Avatar

    I will be transferring US dollars to pounds in the next month and want to know if you provide this service. If so what are your charges? Do you give the best exchange rate?
    Many thanks,
    Kerry Holmes

    1. Avatar

      Hi Kerry, we certainly can help you. To explain how we can help and discuss details, it’s probably best if our dealing team gives you a call. Please email us at with your phone number and let us know when’s a good time to reach you.

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