NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Despite reports that the U.S. dollar's meteoric rise seems to be stabilizing, corporations and investors should get used to operating in a strong-dollar environment -- and even prepare for the dollar to get stronger.
During the past year, the value of the U.S. dollar has risen by 22% over the euro, by 8% over the British pound, and by 20% over major currencies as recorded in a trade-weighted U.S. dollar index published by the Federal Reserve.
The rise in the value of the dollar is now showing up in corporate profits. The Financial Times reports that the strong dollar will probably cut more than $100 billion off of dollar-denominated revenues of "some of America's largest multinational" corporations this year.
The article states that in the first half of the year, 10 of the largest U.S. multinationals have had their sales reduced by a combined $31 billion.
A BloombergBusiness report on a post by two Federal Reserve economists stated that, "The dollar's strength caused a third of the recent decline in U. S. companies' foreign subsidiary profits." (Oil prices were a factor, too, the report admits.)
Further, the strength of the dollar is also felt to be the cause of the stock prices of "companies with high overseas sales to under-perform" the market and this has been accompanied by "comparatively large downward revisions to year-end earnings expectations."
The results of the economists indicate that the "effect faded as the dollar has recently stabilized" and "much of the effect of the dollar's appreciation since last summer may have already shown through to U.S. corporate profits."
One can conclude from this that the worst of the impact on corporate profits is over. Yet, this belief might be a little premature.
The Federal Reserve is poised to raise short-term interest rates. Raising short-term interest rates will only put further upward pressure on the value of the dollar.
Further, other major countries around the world continue to work to keep their interest rates low. All signs point for a continued strong, if not stronger US dollar over the next year or so.
If this is the case, U.S. corporations will have to change their behavior. U.S. corporations have worked for the past fifty years or more with a government that has made things easier for them internationally by almost constantly devaluing the U.S. dollar.
If the times have changed, then U.S. corporations are going to have to adjust to this new global environment and become more productive and efficient. This will be quite a new world and one that will really test the capability of American business leaders.
They certainly can meet the test. They just have to recognize the change in the environment and build more efficient operations that create higher quality goods that command premiums in foreign markets.
Should the Federal Reserve be concerned about this?
The Financial Times doesn't seem to think so. In its lead editorial last Friday the it writes, "It is striking how U.S. monetary policy pays little direct attention to the dollar's globe-trotting role. Peruse Federal Reserve statements or recent comments by its chair Janet Yellen, and you will struggle to find much reference to the world beyond U.S. borders."
The editorial goes on to say that Yellen and the Fed are correct in taking this position and encourages the Fed to get on with raising rates.
Short-term interest rates in the U.S. will begin to rise, this September or later in the fall. The rise is not expected to be much and further increases will probably be modest and not too frequent.
But, the movement in short-term rates will be up -- and that means the dollar will get stronger, too. U.S. corporations and investors should be prepared.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.