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Politics & Policy

“Currency Manipulation” Will Continue, Despite G20

Last month, the G20 finally agreed on the specific factors that would be used to determine whether a country was manipulating its currency. Despite being watered-down (by the usual suspects), the so-called “scorecard” is nonetheless extremely substantive. Unfortunately, the resolution will be backed only by “peer pressure,” rather than any kind of real enforcement mechanism, which means that in practice it is basically worthless.
 
While the proximate goal of the resolution is to eliminate exchange rate manipulation, it’s ultimate goal is to minimize the risk of another economic/financial crisis.

EU Ponders Tobin Tax

Only two years after the worst financial crisis in decades, the DJIA is now back above 12,000. Yield-hungry investors are pouring record amounts of cash into emerging markets. Commodities and food prices are rising into bubble territory. In fact, not a single meaningful reform has yet to be passed that would prevent such an event from erupting again. The EU, however, is trying to change that, with the proposed introduction of the first-ever Tobin tax on foreign exchange trades.

The Obama Budget and the Dollar

Last week, the Obama Administration released its fiscal 2012 budget to much fanfare. Unfortunately, the budget makes only a token effort to address the rising National debt, and forecasts a budget deficit of $1.1 Trillion. While the release of the budget failed to make a splash in currency markets, traders would be wise to understand its implications for the future.

Chinese Yuan Continues to Tick Up

At the very end of 2010, the Chinese Yuan managed to cross the important psychological level of 6.60 USD/CNY, reaching the highest level since 1993. Moreover, analysts are unanimous in their expectation that the Chinese Yuan will continue rising in 2011, disagreeing only on the extent. Since the Yuan’s value is controlled tightly  by Chinese policymakers, forecasting the Yuan requires an in-depth look at the surrounding politics.

Currency War Will End in Tears

The “currency war” is heating up, and all parties are pinning their hopes on the G20 summit in South Korea. However, this is reason to believe that the meeting will fail to achieve anything in this regard, and that the cycle of “Beggar-thy-Neighbor” currency devaluations will continue.

Currency Wars: Will Everyone Please Stop Whining!

I read a provocative piece the other day by Michael Hudson (”Why the U.S. Has Launched a New Financial World War — and How the Rest of the World Will Fight Back“), in which he argued that the ongoing currency wars are the fault of the US. Below, I’ll explain why he’s both right and wrong, and why he (and everyone else) should shut up and stop complaining.

Currency War Devalues all Currencies…Except for Gold

Have you ever heard currency cheerleaders rave about how unique forex is because there is never a bear market? Since all currencies trade relative to each other (when one falls, another must necessarily rise), it couldn’t be possible for the entire market to drop at once, as happens with other financial markets. The ongoing currency war might be turning this logic on its head, as currencies embark on a collective downward spiral. Profiting in this kind of market might involve exiting it altogether, and turning to Gold.

RMB Appreciation Accelerates, but Dollar Peg Remains in Place

The Chinese Yuan has touched a new high, at 6.69 USD/CNY. Given that the Yuan has still only risen about 2% since the peg was officially loosened in June -  with most of that appreciation taking place in the last couple weeks – there still remains intense pressure on China to do more.

China Revalues RMB….by .4%

It was only last week that I mused about “Further Delays in RMB Revaluation.” Lo and behold, over the weekend, the Central Bank finally budged, by pledging to the members of the G20 that it would ” ‘proceed further with reform‘ of the exchange rate and ‘enhance’ flexibility.” Upon reading this, I suppose I should have felt stupid.

Further Delays in RMB Appreciation

Throughout 2010, I have continuously reported on the apparent inevitability of the Chinese Yuan appreciation. That the currency still remains firmly fixed in place against the Dollar is a testament not only to the unpredictability of forex, but also to the doggedness of Chinese officials.
 
It seemed that China’s policymakers were all but set in February to allow the currency to resume its upward path (its appreciation was halted in 2008). If anything, the case for appreciation is stronger now than it was then. China’s economy grew by a blistering 11.9% in the first quarter.
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