Opinion

The Great Debate

Speculators and China win big on yen move

What does $4 trillion a day in business, never sleeps and sees Japan’s Ministry of Finance as just one more patsy?

The foreign exchange market, of course, which is licking its collective lips as Japan embarks on another round of unilateral intervention to sell the yen in an effort to drive down its value and protect its export-oriented economy.

There are going to be two big winners in this, and neither begins with a “J.”

Speculators will, as ever, benefit from having a deep-pocketed trading partner who has been so kind as to draw a bull’s-eye on his own forehead and tell everyone at what level he will act. For Japan, that level appears to be just below 83 yen to the dollar and the Ministry of Finance has already spent $20 billion moving it back to above 85 to the dollar.
Not a bad first day’s effort but let us recall that the last time Japan decided to mess around in currency markets without international support it ended up spending well over $300 billion between 2003-2004, a period when the yen actually appreciated by more than 13 percent.

Switzerland engaged in a similarly painful exercise in driving down the value of its franc earlier this year, shelling out something on the order of $210 billion but seeing the currency actually increase in value against the euro , its main trading partner, by about 14 percent.

Be careful what you wish for on currencies

The rancorous argument about global payment imbalances and the yuan’s valuation is exposing a surprising and dangerous economic illiteracy among policymakers and commentators.

Before pressing China to allow a maxi-revaluation of the yuan, western commentators need to think through the consequences carefully. The idea that devaluing the dollar (and by extension euro and yen) will cause payment imbalances to disappear and boost employment in the West with little or no impact on inflation and living standards is a pipe dream.

MAXI-DEVALUATION
First some notes about terminology. Proponents generally phrase their argument in terms of an appreciation of the yuan (which keeps the focus on the alleged currency manipulators in China). But it could just as easily be recast as a depreciation of the dollar (which is a much more controversial formulation, highlighting the fact that the exchange rate problem reflects U.S. weakness as much as China’s strength).

from The Great Debate UK:

Development of the risk trade

JaneFoley.JPG

- Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

A willingness to differentiate between risk on a country or at a regional level is an important part of the repair process in financial markets.

Credit worthiness is at the core of any assessment of risk and naturally credit worthiness can sort "risk" into a hierarchy which should be instrumental to the pricing of assets and currencies.

Global rebalancing to weaken dollar, quietly

– Neal Kimberley is an FX market analyst for Reuters. The opinions expressed are his own –forex

Twenty-four years ago, major nations called for depreciation of the dollar to rebalance the global economy. Now, as another effort at rebalancing looms, the dollar will again bear the brunt — though officials will try to ensure its fall is less dramatic this time.

That’s the implication of President Barack Obama’s announcement this week that he will push world leaders for a new global “framework” in which the United States would cut its huge trade and budget deficits.

Don’t cry for the dollar, yet

agnes1– Agnes T. Crane is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are her own –

It looks bad for the dollar, but looks can be deceiving.

Its sharp decline in the last week has pushed the euro to its highest level in a year and reignited fears that there’s only one place for the dollar to go, and that’s down.

Rhetoric from influential investors like Warren Buffett as well as big foreign buyers of U.S. debt like China and Russia has fed that sense of doom.

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