geregetan: perang mata uang … 071010

07/10/2010 – 11:16

‘The Ugly Contest’ Moneter Dunia
Ahmad Munjin


INILAH.COM, Jakarta – Pelonggaran moneter di AS dan Eropa memicu persaingan untuk mendevaluasi mata uang di banyak negara. Inilah ‘The Ugly Contest’ kebijakan moneter dunia.

Pengamat ekonomi, David Sumual mengatakan, pelonggaran moneter (quantitative easing) menjadi perhatian bersama negara-negara G20. Sebab, hal itu memicu persaingan untuk melemahkan mata uang (Competitive Currency Devaluation) di masing-masing negara.

Menurutnya, pelonggaran moneter, bukan hanya di AS dan Eropa, tapi juga Jepang dengan penurunan suku bunga acuan ke level 0-0,1%. “Akibatnya, dana triliunan rupiah gentayangan di pasar emerging market seperti RI, sedang mencari return,” katanya kepada INILAH.COM, di Jakarta, Rabu (6/10).

Pasalnya, return AS, Eropa, dan Jepang sangat rendah di level 0%. Para fund manager, mencari keuntungan di emerging market. “Karena itu, kenaikan finansial aset di negara berkembang termasuk RI sangat pesat,” timpalnya.

Kenaikan Indeks Harga Saham Gabungan (IHSG) sejak awal 2010 mencapai 1.060 poin (41%) dari level 2.534 pada 30 Desember 2009 jadi 3.594 pada sesi siang, Rabu (6/10). “Karena itu, menguat wacana bubble-nya ekonomi jika terjadi penguatan tanpa henti,” ucapnya.

Pelonggaran moneter di negara maju, menurut David memicu tingginya volatilitas mata uang hard currency seperti euro, dolar AS, dan yen Jepang. David mencontohkan, pada awal 2010, euro berada di posisi US$1,19 per euro, sekarang mata uang gabungan negara-negara Eropa ini sudah naik ke level US$1,38.

Hal itu dipicu oleh ekonomi AS Eropa, dan Jepang yang semuanya memburuk. “Akibatnya, yang terjadi saat ini adalah The Ugly Contest, dan bukan Beauty Contest,” selorohnya.

Setelah ekonomi AS berantakan dan belum pulih hingga saat ini, otoritas moneter negara adidaya itu melakukan pelonggaran moneter (quantitative easing) tahap dua. “Inilah yang memicu banjirnya dolar AS di pasar sehingga nilai tukarnya melemah,” imbuhnya.

Pasar modal dan mata uang negara-negara berkembang pun sama-sama menguat. “Volatilitas inilah yang akan berdampak negatif ke sektor riil karena gejolak mata uang yang terlalu tinggi,” tuturnya.

Dalam setahun, mata uang di dunia bisa naik turun lebih dari 15%. Akibatnya, sektor riil jadi susah bangkit karena menghadapi ketidakpastian seperti ini.

David mencontohkan, perjanjian ekspor-impor. Karena tidak pasti, baik eksportir maupun importir cenderung enggan untuk melakukan transaksi karena takut rugi. “Meskipun mereka bisa melakukan hedging tapi volatilitas mata uang bisa mengganggu perekonomian dunia,” tandasnya.

Sebelumnya, pemenang hadiah nobel ekonomi, Joseph Stiglitz mengatakan,Kebijakan moneter super longgar oleh Federal Reserve AS dan European Central Bank sama artinya dengan melempar dunia ke dalam kekacauan atau chaos ketimbang membantu pemulihan ekonomi global.

Hal ini disampaikan Selasa (5/10) kepada wartawan dalam sebuah konferensi di Columbia University seperti dilaporkan Reuters. “Banjirnya likuiditas dari The Fed dan ECB bisa membawa ketidakstabilan ke pasar valuta asing,” ujarnya.

Langkah itu, memaksa negara-negara seperti Jepang dan Brasil untuk melindungi eksportirnya. “Ironisnya adalah bahwa Fed menciptakan semua likuiditas ini dengan harapan akan menghidupkan kembali ekonomi Amerika,” papar Stiglitz.

Padahal menurutnya, langkah The Fed dan ECB itu, tidak akan berarti apa-apa bagi perekonomian AS. Langkah itu, justru menyebabkan kekacauan di seluruh dunia. “Kebijakan yang sangat aneh jika mereka tetap memaksakannya,” timpalnya.

Dolar AS telah melemah sekitar 6,5% terhadap mata uang utama sejak awal September akibat prospek pelonggaran moneter lebih lanjut oleh The Fed. Ini juga telah menyebabkan investor mencari keuntungan yang lebih tinggi di tempat lain.

Menurut Stiglitz, stimulus moneter tambahan tidak akan memecahkan masalah secara jelas akibat kurangnya permintaan agregat global. “Menurunkan suku bunga dapat membantu sedikit, tapi itu terlalu lemah untuk mengatasi masalah yang dihadapi AS dan Eropa. Kita perlu stimulus fiskal,” tandas Stiglitz. [mdr]

Chinese buy into currency war plot
Richard McGregor, Beijing From: The Australian September 27, 2007 12:00AM

THE Battle of Waterloo. The deaths of six US presidents. The rise of Adolf Hitler. The deflation of the Japanese bubble economy, the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and even environmental destruction in the developing world.

In a new Chinese bestseller, Currency Wars, these disparate events spanning two centuries have a single root cause: the control of money issuance through history by the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Even today, claims author Song Hongbing, the US Federal Reserve remains a puppet of private banks, which also ultimately owe their allegiance to the ubiquitous Rothschilds. Such an over-arching conspiracy theory might matter as little as the many fetid tracts that can still be found in the West about the “gnomes of Zurich” and Wall Street’s manipulation of global finance.

But in China, which is in the midst of a lengthy debate about opening its financial system under US pressure, the book has become a surprise hit and is being read at senior levels of government and business.

“Some senior heads of companies have been asking me if this is all true,” says Ha Jiming, chief economist of China International Capital Corp, the largest local investment bank.

The book also gives ammunition, however haywire, to many in China who argue that Beijing should resist pressure from the US and other countries to allow the yuan to appreciate.

The book’s publisher, a unit of the state-owned CITIC group, says Currency Wars had sold almost 200,000 copies, with an estimated 400,000 extra pirated copies in circulation as well.

Song, an IT consultant and amateur historian who has lived in the US since 1994 and is now based in Washington, says his interest was sparked by trying to uncover what lay behind the Asian crisis in 1997. After he began blogging some of his findings, his friends suggested he find a publisher for a longer work. He professes himself surprised by the book’s success.

“I never imagined it could be so hot and that top leaders would be reading it,” he says during a book tour in Shanghai. “People in China are nervous about what’s going on in financial markets, but they don’t know how to handle the real dangers. This book gives them some ideas.”

The thing that most shocked him, he says, was his “discovery” that the Fed is a privately owned and run bank. “I just never imagined a central bank could be a private body.”

The Fed does describe itself “as an unusual mixture of public and private elements”. While its seven governors are all appointed by the US president, private banks hold shares in its 12 regional reserve banks.

But Song ignores the government’s role and argues that the Fed’s key functions are ultimately controlled by five private banks, such as Citibank, all of which maintain a “close relationship” with the Rothschilds.

Song is defensive about his focus on the Rothschilds and what the book depicts as their Jewish clannishness.

“The Chinese people think that the Jews are smart and rich, so we should learn from them,” he says. “Even me, I think they are really smart, maybe the smartest people on earth.”

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, is not impressed. “The Chinese have the highest regard for what they see as Jewish intellectual and commercial acumen,” he says. “This claim, however, plays to the most discredited and outmoded canards surrounding Jews and their influence.”

Ha puts the book’s popularity down to the decade-long stagnation in Japan and the Asian financial crisis, which he says had a profound impact on many Chinese policy makers.

Chinese officials remain deeply suspicious of advice from Western countries to open up the financial system and float the currency. “They think it is just a new way of looting developing countries,” Ha says.

Song himself has been commissioned to write a number of new books to capitalise on his success: on the yen, the euro and also on China’s financial system.

But he sounds hesitant about the line his future tomes might take. “This book may be totally wrong, so before the next one, I have to make sure my understanding is right,” he says. “Before, I was a nobody, so I could say anything I liked, but now the situation has changed.”
Dollar Trades Near Eight-Month Low Against the Euro on Fed Policy Outlook
By Yasuhiko Seki and Ron Harui – Oct 5, 2010
The dollar touched an eight-month low versus the euro on speculation the Federal Reserve will join the Bank of Japan in increasing purchases of government debt.

The Dollar Index fell to levels last seen in January before reports this week forecast to show applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose and the jobless rate climbed. South Korea’s won rose to a five-month high on prospects that the Asian nation’s yield advantage over U.S. assets will widen.

“Underlying negative sentiment toward the dollar remains intact due to lingering prospects for additional easing in the U.S.,” said Naoto Minatogawa, a currency analyst in Tokyo at Himawari Securities Inc.

The dollar slid to $1.3859 per euro, the weakest level since Feb. 4, before trading at $1.3828 as of 12:02 p.m. in Tokyo from $1.3839 in New York yesterday. The dollar bought 83.16 yen from 83.22. The currency yesterday reached 82.96 yen, the lowest since Sept. 15 when Japan intervened in foreign- exchange markets for the first time since 2004. The euro fetched 115.00 yen from 115.16 yen.

The Dollar Index, which IntercontinentalExchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners, hit 77.698 today, matching yesterday’s low, which was the weakest since Jan. 20.

U.S. initial jobless claims increased by 2,000 to 455,000 in the week ended Oct. 2, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists ahead of tomorrow’s data. The unemployment rate climbed to 9.7 percent in September from 9.6 percent in August, according to a separate survey ahead of the Oct. 8 report.

Global Easing

Japan’s decision yesterday to buy $60 billion of assets and cut its benchmark interest rate to stimulate growth bolstered expectations the Fed will follow suit and boost Treasury purchases to prop up the U.S. recovery. The Bank of Japan lowered its benchmark interest rate to a range of zero to 0.1 percent from the previous 0.1 percent target.

New York Fed President William Dudley said on Oct. 1 that the central bank has the “tools that can provide additional stimulus at costs that do not appear to be prohibitive.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said on Oct. 4 that the central bank aided the U.S. economy through its $1.75 trillion purchases of mortgage debt and Treasuries that ended in March 2010 and that further buying would be likely to help more.

“The Fed is still likely to pump billions of billions of dollars into the system,” said Jonathan Cavenagh, currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Sydney. “All that liquidity has to find a place. Some of that will stay in the U.S. and some of that will inevitably try to find a better yield somewhere.”

The won was 0.9 percent stronger at 1,120.90 per dollar, having earlier touched a five-month high. The currency gained 9.1 percent over the past three months, Asia’s best performance.

Stocks, Commodities

The MSCI World Index rose for a second day after the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of raw materials increased 1.6 percent yesterday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of regional shares added 1.1 percent today.

Gains in the euro were tempered by speculation its recent advance was too rapid.

The euro’s 14-day stochastic oscillator against the dollar stood at 96, above the 80 threshold that indicates it may be poised to weaken.

“Given the rapid rise of late, I feel uncomfortable to hold this currency, especially at these levels,” said Shinichi Hayashi, a dealer in Tokyo at Shinkin Central Bank, the central institution for Japan’s financial cooperatives.

G-7 Meeting

The yen was close to a three-week high on speculation that Japan will refrain from intervening in the foreign-exchange markets before this week’s meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Measures to weaken currencies and loosen monetary policy in recent weeks have been taken from Japan to Brazil, whose Finance Minister Guido Mantega warned Sept. 27 of a “currency war.” The Bank of England will decide tomorrow whether to join in and resume asset purchases to boost private lending. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who will chair the G-7 meeting, said last week that “currency issues are major issues.”

“This weekend’s G-7 meeting may make it difficult for intervention by the Japanese authorities,” said Tohru Sasaki, head of Japan rates and foreign-exchange research at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo. “Also, even if intervention were to occur, the intervention is highly likely to be small-sized and short- lived, so any impact on the yen will probably be limited.”

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said using currencies as a “policy weapon” would pose a “very serious risk” to the global recovery, the Financial Times reported, citing an interview.


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