The failure to find fundamentals that co-move with exchange rates or forecasting models with even mild predictive power – facts broadly referred to as “exchange rate disconnect” – stands among the most disappointing, but robust, facts in all of international macroeconomics. In this paper, we demonstrate that U.S. purchases of foreign bonds, which did not co-move with exchange rates prior to 2007, have provided significant in-sample, and even some out-of-sample, explanatory power for currencies since then. We show that several proxies for global risk factors also start to co-move strongly with the dollar and with U.S. purchases of foreign bonds around 2007, suggesting that risk plays a key role in this finding. We use security-level data on U.S. portfolios to demonstrate that the reconnect of U.S. foreign bond purchases to exchange rates is largely driven by investment in dollar-denominated assets rather than by foreign currency exposure alone. Our results support the narrative emerging from an active recent literature that the US dollar’s role as an international and safe-haven currency has surged since the global financial crisis.

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