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Swiss and British currency war

Jan 21, 2013

Here is another good article about the currency wars that are heating up now. The past agreements are breaking down as more and more countries look for ways to gain a trade advantage over their competitors. It is a "race to the bottom," as countries devalue their currencies to increase trade.

Keep in mind, however, that this does not affect those countries that primarily export oil, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. For them, a strong currency is more desirable, because the world price of oil is set regardless of the value of a nation's currency.


Switzerland and Britain are now at currency war

It seems you can’t debase your coinage these days even if you try.

The Bank of England is straining every sinew to drive down sterling with quantitative easing, and what happens?

The Swiss National Bank trumps Threadneedle Street with an outright blitz of Gilt purchases. They just print it, and buy.

The Swiss and UK central banks are effectively fighting a “low intensity” currency war against each other. It has come to this....

.... said David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC.

“Everybody is trying to weaken their currency at the same time. The Swiss have got away with it and now the Japanese want to try. The Sandinavians are pulling their hair out. The Turks are cutting rates even though the economy is overheating, and putting in credit controls instead because they don’t want the currency to rise.”

“Policymakers are doing things that if you had suggested four years ago they would have put you in a straitjacket and thrown you in a cell. I don’t rule out anything any longer in this market. Desperate times lead to desperate acts,” he said.

This blog is not intended to be an attack on the Swiss, valiant defenders of the democratic nation state. What they are doing is entirely understandable. Such intervention creates net global stimulus and does more good than harm in a deflationary world.

Still, we have a very odd situation. Much of the world needs a lower currency and a higher interest rate structure to right the ship. But they can’t all have lower currencies.


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Dr. Stephen Jones

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