Friday, January 18, 2013

World Currency War

While the talk about the global currency wars is nothing new, recent statements from the central bankers/policymakers in some of the major countries indicate that 2013 may be the year of a major war.

The term was coined by the Brazilian finance minister who said that the loose monetary polices in the U.S. and the Europe were hurting the emerging economies as the investors poured money into higher yielding assets and currencies of the emerging countries.

Brazil's government has been very active in its efforts to stem the Real's appreciation, though capital controls and interventions.

Russia’s central bank deputy chief said yesterday “we are on the verge of very serious and confrontational actions in the sphere…called currency wars”.

EuroGroup chief Juncker recently said that “Europe is no longer willing to be the last economic player holding the toxic parcel of an over-valued exchange rate”. Bank of England Governor Mervyn Kingsaid in December “concern is that in 2013 we'll see the growth of actively managed exchange rates as an alternative to the use of domestic monetary policy”.

Japan’s new prime minster Shinzo Abe has called for “unlimited easing” by the BOJ. Bank of Korea Governor stated a couple days back that the nation will take an “active” response on the Won if needed.

Swiss central bank has expanded its portfolio of foreign assets four times in the last three years in its efforts to keep the lid on Swiss Franc appreciation. China has always been suspected of manipulating its currency, but the country actually allowed its currency to appreciate against the dollar last year. However the new regime in China may not be supportive of Yuan appreciation.

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