S$ up 6% against US$. LOL
S$ up 6% against US$. LOL
From NYT’s Dealbook
China’s decision to push the value of its currency lower has opened a new front of worry for global investors: a potential wave of currency devaluations among the so-called Asian tigers — South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
Such an outcome, a number of foreign exchange specialists say, would put a further damper on global growth expectations, which already are being revised downward as China’s once-booming economy retrenches.
The dollar’s strong run recently — together with the plunge in the price of oil and other commodities — has damaged fragile emerging-market economies like Brazil, Turkey and South Africa; the dollar has risen 130 percent against the Brazilian real and the South African rand since mid-2011.
The currencies of fast-growing Asian countries, including India, have largely been insulated, thanks to their better-performing economies and their ability to stockpile large foreign currency reserve positions.
… countries have some of the most overvalued exchange rates on the planet,” said Julian Brigden of Macro Intelligence 2 Partners, an independent research firm based in Vail, Colo., that advises large money management firms on global investment themes.
When economies have high exchange rates, their exports tend to lose market share compared with countries with cheaper currencies. And when that happens, countries that depend on foreign trade will frequently take steps to push their currencies lower.
Already, global money managers have begun to pull money out of some of these Asian markets.
The Korean won and the Singapore dollar are down 5 percent, while the Taiwan dollar has lost 7 percent over the last six months. Even in India, perhaps the most popular emerging market among global investors, the currency has given ground, about 7 percent, against the United States dollar.
“I expect these currencies to fall by another 20 or 30 percent,” said Raoul Pal, an independent financial analyst and the founder of Real Vision TV, a media venture where sophisticated investors discuss their views on the market. “These export figures are a big deal — it’s a huge shrinkage in the dollar-based economy, as not enough people are buying goods.”
For quite some time, Mr. Pal has been promoting an investment thesis that the relentless rise of the dollar — since mid-2011, the dollar is up 35 percent against a broad basket of currencies — will have a deflationary effect on the global economy as export-driven economies enter into a series of competitive devaluations to protect crucial export sectors.
“This is not just a commodity story,” he said. “It’s a global trade story.”
Exchange-rate volatility in this part of the world will not take the heat off other weak currencies. In addition to usual examples like Turkey, Brazil and South Africa, investors expect commodity exporters like Indonesia, Chile and Colombia to take a big hit, as the prices for their products continue to fall.
The final frontier in this respect would be the pegged currencies in the Middle East, especially the Saudi Arabian riyal, which is tightly linked to the dollar.
The other problem with downward trending currencies in South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore is that these countries, like just about all emerging market economies, have taken advantage of a rock-bottom interest rate environment to issue billions of dollars in dollar-denominated corporate debt to finance capital investments.
Foreign investors were attracted to the high yields and especially the stable currencies and bought them in huge quantities. Now, with the currencies starting to wobble, dollar-based investors have less incentive to hold on to them, and they will do what they have been doing with their Brazilian, Turkish and South African bonds — get rid of them as quickly as possible.
“There is a lot of underlying investor exposure in these markets,” said Mr. Brigden, the independent research analyst. “I think if things continue to get worse, we are going to move to liquidation stage.”
But the good news for those of us who own Reits and good paying yield stocks is that the Fed may not raises rates in September. Good for those mortgaged to their eyeballs too. But TRE ranters will be upset that the coming collapse S’pore property prices will be again delayed once more. They want their fellow S’poreans to die for supporting the PAP. Ah well hope springs eternal.
China held firm on the value of its money for years, as other countries tried to secure an economic advantage by letting the value of their currencies slide on international markets. Some analysts see its jump into the fray as a new phase in a long-raging global currency war, Peter Eavis writes in DealBook. The plunge paused on Friday, but the renminbi was still down 4.4 percent against the dollar this week, a huge drop for China and the steepest drop since the country’s modern exchange system was set up, Neil Gough reports in The New York Times. The move could leave the United States exposed and undermine efforts to pull the world economy out of the doldrums.
The yen, the euro and several other major currencies have fallen in recent years against the dollar as the Federal Reserve has cut back its stimulus, but the countries that don’t join the devaluations can end up suffering if they export less and import more. A steep drop in the value of the renminbi could also intensify some of the forces that have caused the American economy to underperform.
Analysts also fear the currency tensions could worsen entrenched problems in the global economy, like its reliance on the dollar as a so-called reserve currency. This dependence means that the Fed’s actions can change economic conditions in other countries, and not always for the better.
The Fed now faces a problem. It is considering raising interest ratesfor the first time in more than nine years. A rate increase could drive the dollar up even more aainst other currencies, creating an obstacle to the American economy. It could also make life even harder for countries in the developing world, which could experience capital outflows. Companies in emerging markets that borrowed in dollars would have to spend more of their local currency to pay back their debts.
China, too, would struggle if there was an uncontrolled plunge in the renminbi. Chinese entities have borrowed more than $1.6 trillion in foreign currencies. “A sharp devaluation is not in China’s interest,” said Li-Gang Liu, a China economist at ANZ Research. “That could make corporates very panicky.”
Prolonged turbulence and economic pain may then force world leaders to think hard about whether the international system can be changed, Mr. Eavis writes. The easy money pumped out by the Fed over the last decade helped stoke booms in other countries that became unsustainable. As the Fed has pulled back, the adjustment has been jarring for huge economies, like Brazil and China.
“The system is coming back to bite us in the rear,” said David Beckworth, an associate economics professor at Western Kentucky University. “Maybe this experience teaches us that we are more interconnected than we ever were.”
Against US dollar.
Malaysia’s ringgit and Indonesia’s rupiah both slid to 17-year lows, after falls of 2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, while the currencies of India, Colombia, Taiwan, Chile, Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and Singapore all ended the week 1-2 per cent softer. FT
But these currencies depreciate against S$ too.
EURO FALLS LOWER Down the euro goes. On Friday, Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said in an interview with a German newspaper that the threat of deflation might force his bank to take more aggressive stimulus measures, which could include buying eurozone bonds in bulk, Landon Thomas Jr. and Jack Ewing report in DealBook. His comments prompted the euro to fall to $1.20, a four-and-a-half year low against the dollar.
The dollar also hit a multiyear high against the Japanese yen, and it was also gaining on the fragile currencies in Brazil, Turkey and Russia.
What does it all mean? The moves highlighted a new trend in world currency markets: Global central banks ‒ along with investors also wary of the low returns that their euros have been delivering ‒ have increasingly been switching into dollars and out of euros, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Ewing write. “The expectation is that a rapidly recovering United States economy will push the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates this year, making dollar-based assets more attractive than those denominated in euros, Japanese yen and emerging market currencies,” they write.
The weakness in the euro on Friday came after Mr. Draghi, in an interview in Handelsblatt of Germany, said, “The risks of not fulfilling our mandate of price stability are in any case higher than they were six months ago.” Investors interpreted Mr. Draghi’s comments to mean that the central bank was moving closer to broad-based purchases of government bonds, possibly as soon as its next monetary policy meeting, on Jan. 22.
A strong oil price and a strengthening US$.
Great US-centric schematic on above.
Useful for followers of local mkt.