SEOUL, Nov 12, 2010 (AFP)
US President Barack Obama insisted Friday that the world was in broad agreement on the way forward for economic recovery after a fractious G20 summit in Seoul.
YOKOHAMA, Japan, Nov 12, 2010 (AFP)
Hong Kong’s leader warned Friday that a move to inject billions of dollars into the ailing US economy could inflate Asian asset bubbles and trigger a repeat of the region’s 1997-98 crisis.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang said there was a risk of “unprecedented market turbulence” in currencies, bonds and stocks and warned that Hong Kong is ready to take new, anti-speculative steps to cool its over-heated property market.
“I am very much concerned about the impact of the US second round of quantitative easing on Asian economies,” Tsang said, referring to the Federal Reserve’s controversial 600-billion-dollar attempt to reflate the US economy.
Critics worry the cash surge will not only further dilute the value of the dollar but add to the flood of money that is chasing higher returns in Asia and dangerously inflating stock, bond and property markets.
“This has increased the risk of asset bubbles, which will impact on our financial stability as well as regional and global economic growth,” Tsang said at a business forum in Yokohama, Japan.
The popping of “emerging bubbles in different pockets” of Asia’s securities and property markets would be “highly infectious”, he said.
“And the end result is you can see a second wave… similar to the one we had in 1997 and 1998, when there was an over-exuberance in our markets. This is exactly the case now.
“All you need is one major conglomerate or one large bank… suffering a shock… and suddenly you can see a tsunami-style” effect, Tsang said at the event, held on the eve of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
There has been widespread foreign condemnation of the US policy of printing billions of new dollars as a stimulus measure, including at the G20 summit which US President Barack Obama was attending in Seoul Friday.
Critics say the fresh liquidity could further drive down the dollar and exacerbate the threat of “currency wars” in which nations seek to cap or weaken their currencies to make their exports more competitive.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, speaking at the same business event, warned on currency policies that “if we don’t get this right, it’s my view that we will see currency wars, we will see retaliatory action taken.
“That would be bad for economic growth, it would have unintended consequences and it would be bad for integration in the region,” he said.
Key added that “escalating tensions when it comes to exchange rate policy run the risk of derailing economic growth. That would not only be bad for Asia but that would be bad globally.”
Hong Kong’s Tsang said the “exceptionally abnormal” environment called for vigilance from policymakers, who should be “fully prepared and take all forms of action to avoid systemic risks that might disrupt our recovery”.
Hong Kong last month laid out measures to cool the world’s hottest property market, including a halt to granting automatic residency rights to rich buyers and a rise in stamp duty on luxury sales.
“But we will not stop here. We will not hesitate to introduce further anti-speculative measures when there is need to do so,” Tsang said, adding that to maximise the impact “there will be no prior notice” before they are imposed.
Perang Kurs, Lobi Obama-Hu Jintao Mentok!
Jum’at, 12 November 2010 – 10:11 wib
Insaf Albert Tarigan – Okezone
SEOUL – Para pemimpin negara anggota G-20 belum mencapai kesepakatan mengenai perang kurs dan ketimpangan ekonomi global saat ini.
Lobi yang berlangsung sejak kemarin tidak menghasilkan kesepakatan karena perbedaan pendapat, terutama antara negara yang neraca perdagangannya defisit seperti Amerika Serikat (AS) dengan dengan negara surplus terbesar, Jerman dan China.
Meski demikian, baik Presiden AS Barack Obama maupun Presiden China Hu Jintao mengaku optimis sesi pleno hari ini akan mencapai hal yang positif. Lobi yang berlangsung sejak kemarin di antaranya membahas usulan AS agar negara G-20 membatasi surplus atau defisit neraca perdagangannya beberapa persen dari Produk Domestik Bruto.
Usul ini ditentang oleh Kanselir Jerman Angela Merkel. “Kunci untuk mengurangi ketimpangan yang ada adalah dengan pergerakan kurs yang fleksibel dari mata uang utama,”kata Merkel, Kamis (11/11/2010) malam kepada wartawan G-20 di Seoul.
Sejauh ini, AS tidak mengakui secara terbuka terhadap kecurigaan banyak negara bahwa The Fed sengaja memerosotkan kurs dolar dengan memompakan miliaran dollar ke pasar untuk menstimulus perekonomian AS. Padahal, mantan Gubernur The Fed, dalam kolomnya di The Financial Times juga menuduh AS ingin menerapkan kebijakan pelemahan kurs dolar.
Namun, tuduhan ini ditepis oleh Menteri Keuangan AS Tim Geithner. Dia mengatakan, AS tidak pernah sengaja mendevaluasi kurs dolar untuk mendorong ekspor. Sementara itu, Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dalam keterangannya sesaat sebelum mengikuti sesi pleno menyampaikan harapan agar perang kurs tidak terjadi dan masing-masing negara dapat mencapai kesepakatan hari ini.
Ia juga menekankan pentingnya pemerataan pertumbuhan ekonomi global agar kutub-kutub pertumbuhan tidak hanya terpusat di beberapa negara tertentu. Dengan demikian, perekonomian global akan lebih kuat dalam menghadapi krisis di negara tertentu seperti tahun 2008 lalu.(wdi)
Stimulus yang digelontorkan AS melalui kebijakan ‘Quantitative Easing’ tahap II senilai US$ 600 miliar bisa membahayakan perekonomian Asia. Gelontoran dana itu dikhawatirkan bisa memicu inflasi atas aset-aset di Asia yang pada akhirnya bisa memicu terulangnya krisis seperti era 1997-1998.
“Saya sangat khawatir tentang dampak kebijakan ‘quantitative easing’ tahap II AS,” ujar Chief Executive Hong Kong, Donald Tsang mengacu pada keputusan The Fed untuk menyiapkan likuiditas hingga US$ 600 miliar dalam rangka menggairahkan lagi perekonomian AS.
Bank Sentral AS (Federal Reserve) sebelumnya memutuskan kebijakan ‘quantitative easing’ tahap II yang bernilai US$ 600 miliar. Dengan kebijakan itu, The Fed akan membeli surat berharga pemerintah AS senilai US$ 75 miliar dalam 8 bulan ke depan.
Namun keputusan itu mendapat banyak kritikan karena dinilai bisa membuat pasokan dolar AS yang berlebihan di pasar sehingga bisa mendilusi nilai mata uang tersebut.
Dengan likuiditas yang membanjir akibat adanya kebijakan tersebut, plus tingginya imbal hasil di Asia, maka dipastikan aliran dana pun akan semakin deras ke pasar Asia yang pada akhirnya bisa membahayakan pasar saham, obligasi dan properti.
“(Kebijakan) ini telah meningkatkan risiko bubble aset, yang akan berdampak pada stabilitas finansial baik dan juga pertumbuhan ekonomi regional dan global,” ujar Tsang dalam forum bisnis di Yokohama, Jepang, seperti dikutip dari AFP, Jumat (12/11/2010).
Menurut Tsang, meletusnya bubble atas surat-surat berharga dan pasar properti di Asia nantinya akan sangat menular.
“Dan hasil akhirnya adalah Anda dapat melihat gelombang kedua… seperti yang kita alami pada tahun 1997 dan 1998, ketika terjadi kerimbunan yang berlebihan di pasar kami. Ini jelas kasus yang terjadi sekarang,” imbuhnya.
“Yang Anda butuhkan adalah satu konglomerat atau satu bank besar… terkena guncangan… dan tiba-tiba Anda melihat efek seperti tsunami,” jelas Tsang dalam acara yang merupakan rangkaian dari pertemuan Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) itu.
Keputusan AS untuk mencetak miliaran dolar AS baru sebagai bagian dari stimulus memang disesalkan banyak pihak, tak terkecuali dalam forum pertemuan G20 yang juga dihadiri Presiden AS Barack Obama.
Tsang mengatakan, dalam lingkungan yang ‘sangat tidak normal’ ini, diperlukan kewaspadaan dari para pembuat kebijakan. Mereka harus membuat persiapan sepenuhnya dan mengambil semua langkah untuk mencegak risiko sistemik yang dapat mengganggu proses pemulihan.
Asian currencies fell this week, with South Korea’s won and Malaysia’s ringgit among the biggest decliners, on speculation policy makers will impose controls should the Group of 20 nations fail to settle a currency dispute.
China has rejected criticism that it keeps the yuan undervalued to support exporters to the detriment of U.S. businesses, instead directing criticism at the Federal Reserve’s monetary easing. President Barack Obama had sought to broaden the debate by linking it to a worldwide effort to rein in current-account excesses. The two-day G-20 meeting ends today.
The won declined 1.1 percent this week to 1,119.85 per dollar as of 12:19 p.m. in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ringgit fell 0.8 percent to 3.1110, the Singapore dollar dropped 0.6 percent to S$1.2950 and the Thai baht weakened 0.4 percent to 29.80.
The Philippine peso fell the most in Asia this week as the central bank limited the supply of dollars to banks to curb gains in the currency. The peso retreated 3 percent this week to 44.04 per dollar. It touched 42.47 on Nov. 4, the strongest level since May 2008.
Elsewhere, Indonesia’s rupiah fell 0.2 percent during the week to 8,918 per dollar, China’s yuan gained 0.4 percent to 6.6298 and Taiwan’s dollar rose 1.2 percent to NT$30.192.
Sumber : BLOOMBERG.COM
22 October 2010 Last updated at 23:02 GMT
What’s the currency war about?
By Laurence Knight Business reporter, BBC News
Bank clerk counts out dollar notes Which country will be left holding all the cards?
Over the past decade, the world has been divided into “deficit” countries and “surplus” countries.
Deficit countries, like the US and the UK, borrow from the rest of the world, so they can import more than they export.
Surplus countries, like China, Japan and many other Asian countries, do the opposite. They lend to other countries to help finance their exports.
The eurozone has typically imported about as much as it exported, staying in balance.
But within the eurozone there are also big imbalances: Germany runs a big surplus, while Spain, Greece and others run deficits.
During the financial crisis and global recession, imports by the deficit countries – and exports from the surplus countries – briefly collapsed.
But with the recovery, the latest trade data suggests that the old imbalances have begun to reassert themselves.
This has led to tensions. The US says it wants to export more, to help its economy recover. But the surplus countries don’t want their exporters to lose their competitive advantage.
The quickest way to gain a competitive advantage is through a weaker currency.
And with the global recovery so weak, nearly all countries have been complaining that their currencies are too strong.
Unfastening the lynchpin
During the 2008 financial crisis, most currencies fell against the dollar. Investors bought the dollar, because they saw it as a safe haven.
But since then most currencies have slowly risen against the dollar again. US interest rates are near zero and the US is stuck in a weak recovery, making the dollar less attractive.
The Chinese pegged their currency to the dollar in 2007, and stuck with the peg throughout the crisis.
The People’s Bank of China has bought up trillions of dollars in order to keep its currency weak against the dollar.
And the US is not happy, saying that it helps keep Chinese exports artificially cheap.
China’s critics complain that the country runs a huge trade surplus, even though China is booming, while much of the world – notably the US – remains economically weak.
In June this year, Beijing finally agreed to loosen the peg – marginally – after months of US pressure. But the US says it is not enough.
The Chinese point out that – unlike many other exporting nations – they did not let the yuan fall against the dollar during the financial crisis.
Chinese container ship Despite weak growth in the US, Chinese exports just keep on arriving
Privately, the Chinese also worry that if they raise their currency too quickly, it could bankrupt many export companies and seriously destabilise their economy.
And China is not the only one to manipulate its currency. Korea and others have also intervened to keep their currency values down.
But the US sees China as a lynchpin – if it can get Beijing to strengthen its currency, it thinks other smaller exporters will follow.
Land of the rising yen
Meanwhile, spare a thought for the Japanese.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was not altogether pleased by China’s intervention
The yen has risen and risen since the 2008 crisis, hurting Japanese exporters and pushing the country back towards recession.
For years the yen used to be weak, because of Japan’s zero interest rates made it a cheap currency for currency speculators to borrow in and sell.
But now the US, UK and Europe have near-zero interest rates as well, taking away the yen’s advantage.
In September, the Japanese intervened to weaken their currency.
And the country exchanged angry words with Beijing after the Chinese suggested they might start buying up yen instead of dollars.
But the respite was short-lived, and since then it has strengthened even more against the dollar.
What can be done?
All this leaves one big question – what can countries like the US and UK do to reduce their deficits?
US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner Mr Geithner is much more wary of threatening trade sanctions than many of his colleagues in Washington
One option is austerity. Consumers and companies are already cutting back on borrowing. If governments do the same, the entire country borrows less, and its deficit reduces.
The problem is that austerity in the deficit countries can lead to recession, especially if the surplus keep on lending.
Another option is looser money. But with interest rates at zero, central banks are left to resort to quantitative easing – printing money and using it to buy up debts, or intervening directly in currency markets.
But these are limited tool – as the Japanese have learned over the years.
Many in the US Congress hope that Washington will try another option – trade sanctions against China.
But that raises a spectre that is haunting the G20 meeting – the ghost of the 1930s, when protectionism started by the US led to a collapse of trade that was a big contributor to the Great Depression.
The futility of a ‘currency’ war
Paul Donovan, London | Mon, 11/08/2010 10:00 AM |
There are growing concerns that the world is about to embark upon a global “currency war”, as countries try to simultaneously devalue their way to export led recovery.
Investors, politicians, and the media variously claim foreign exchange intervention, capital controls, and even domestic-led monetary policy decisions like quantitative policy are offensive weapons on some kind of foreign exchange battleground.
There are demands that the G20 coordinate some kind of global response (a futile hope. The days of The Plaza and Louvre Accords on foreign exchange are long behind us. The best that can be said of the G20 is that it provides a weekend’s holiday for hard working finance ministers. Otherwise it is a largely useless concept).
A global currency war will fail: the world can not have simultaneous devaluations, nor simultaneous export led recoveries. Indeed, this sort of combative policy approach risks the sort of dire global trade responses that the world experienced in the 1930s. Before such apocalyptic fears take hold, however, we should take a reality check on what we have now.
Since the start of 2007 (i.e. before the onset of the financial crisis), major currency pairs have not moved much. The dollar values of the euro, sterling and Canadian dollar and most Asian currencies are within 20 percent of their January 2007 level.
The Swiss franc has moved less than 20 percent against the euro. Only the Australian dollar (24 percent) and the yen (31 percent) have made larger moves. To date, the “war” has all the ferocity and horror of a global pillow fight.
We may not have a currency war now, but it is possible that politicians will move to a combative position. This raises the rather obvious question — what can currency devaluation (amongst the major economies) actually achieve?
Theory suggests that devaluing a currency cheapen the (foreign) price of exports, and raise the (domestic) price of imports (creating a stronger net export position). Sadly this pricing theory is too simplistic. Currency depreciation will not turn a domestic demand economy into an export led economy.
The first problem with currency wars is that the global trading environment is a lot more complex than in the 1930s or the 1970s. With trade accounting for around a fifth of the world economy and with lengthy global supply chains sourcing components from all over the world, the benefits of a currency shift are less obvious.
A large proportion (around a third) of what we record as global trade today is actually just the moving of goods around inside the same company.
Currency shifts become a matter for internal accounting by multinational conglomerates. Currency depreciation may raise component costs for domestic manufacturers, rather than shifting demand patterns away from imports.
The second problem with currency wars is that importers and exporter (the front line troops) disobey orders. Exporters are supposed to cut their foreign prices if their home currency falls in value — but they don’t. Importers are supposed to raise their domestic prices if the currency shifts — but they don’t.
With the exception of the commodity space, importers and exporters price to market (and only shift their prices if local competitors do). Rather than risk losing customers and a market share that has built up over years, importers will take a reduction in their profit margins if currencies move against them.
Similarly exporters will welcome the boost to their profit margins, but they will not normally seek to increase the volume of exports that they sell on the back of a currency shift. Because no one changes their pricing policy (in local currencies) consumers on the home front have no incentive to shift their consumption patterns when a currency depreciates.
As a result, in the normal course of events currency shifts do not lead to a significant rebalancing of global trade patterns. Profit margins may fluctuate, but the volume of imports and exports do not. War, in short, is futile.
There is a caveat to this foreign exchange pacifist argument. The limited impact of currency depreciation assumes companies have time to adjust to the currency shifts. European exporters coped with a near doubling of the euro’s value against the dollar earlier this century because the move was spread out over several years.
A really substantial (30 percent plus) FX move in a short space of time (e.g. within a single year) will force importers and exporters to change prices. This in turn will lead to a change in demand patterns.
However, the dislocation and political response to so great a degree of currency depreciation is likely to produce the economic equivalent of a nuclear winter. That is the war the world needs to fear.
The writer is deputy head, Global Economics, UBS Investment Bank.