Don't bet against the U.S.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday that he would "take the over" on any bet related to U.S. GDP topping 3% this year and said a strong dollar would be good for the economy over the longer term.

Speaking from Washington with CNBC, Mnuchin said that even though stock markets have performed very well since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, noting he was very bullish on stocks in the sense that they reflect the stronger underlying economy and "wouldn't be surprised to find it higher" by the end of the year.  However, when asked about the ultimate strength of the economy, and whether it could surpass a 3% growth rate this year, Mnuchin was adamant. 

"I we were betting I would absolutely take the over instead of the under on that. I think we are well on our way to 3% or higher sustained growth and that's really been the focus and that's what everyone should be focused on.

"That's our scorecard," he added. "The markets reflect that, the jobs reports reflect that. The difference between 2% and 3% is trillions of dollars for the economy." 

Mnuchin also said that he was certain a stronger U.S. dollar would be good for the U.S. economy, but didn't want to repeat his error from January's World Economic Fourm, when comments about its short-term value were viewed as a change in U.S policy. 

"The dollar is the most liquid trading market in the world and we respect the free trading of it" Mnuchin said. "In the long term, a strong dollar is good for the United States and reflects the success of the economy."

"But I am not going to make any comments on where the dollar is right now or anything related to its short-term trading,".

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the value of the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.13% higher from its Friday close at 93.76 in early New York trading, up 4.18% so far this quarter, just a few pips shy if its 2018 peak and the highest since Dec 15.