Sign up for Equitymaster's free daily newsletter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get access to our latest Multibagger guide (2018 Edition) on picking money-making stocks.

This is an entirely free service. No payments are to be made.

Download Now Subscribe to our free daily e-letter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get this complimentary report.
We hate spam as much as you do. Check out our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.
Currency Wars - Outside View by Asad Dossani
  • MyStocks


Login Failure
(Please do not use this option on a public machine)
  Sign Up | Forgot Password?  

Currency Wars
Oct 18, 2010

One of the events that have occurred throughout this financial crisis is the recognition that global coordination and cooperation is needed to ensure economic prosperity. It wasn't too long ago that leaders from around the globe met and agreed joint initiatives to improve financial stability. One of their pledges included not resorting to protectionism (i.e. maintaining free trade between countries).

Today's picture is very different. Pick up the news and you'll probably hear about various countries intervening in their currency markets to improve their own economies, at the expense of others. Japan has been directly intervening to weaken the yen, as they fear the strong currency is hurting their exports. They have also maintained a low interest rate combined with quantitative easing. The US has been doing much of the same. Though not directly intervening, they have been able to weaken their currency with low interest rates and money printing.

In scale and size, none compare to the biggest currency manipulator of all: China. The Chinese have pegged their currency at an artificially low level to the US dollar. They do this by printing their own currency and using it to buy dollars. It is QE (quantitative easing) on a much bigger scale. The fact that the dollar has weakened in the last few months means that China's currency too has weakened against everyone else's. As a consequence, they have built up a large trade surplus and the US has a large trade deficit. It is one of the biggest economic imbalances the global economy has ever seen, and one that will eventually have to be corrected.

Currency manipulation is a form of protectionism. When a country artificially weakens their currency, they make their exports cheaper and their imports more expensive. So it is like a subsidy for exports and a tax on imports. More and more it is the case that countries are acting in this way to help their own economies at the expense of others. Of course when everyone starts to do this, no one's exports increase, and the result is a net decrease in world trade. The sense of cooperation that existed a year ago seems long gone.

So if all countries print more and more money to weaken their currencies, what will be the outcome? For one, exchange rates will become more volatile. This will have a negative effect on international trade, and hurt economic growth. Second, inflation will be higher and more unpredictable. This again, is bad for consumers, bad for businesses, and bad for the economy as a whole.

In the 1930s, after a financial crisis the global economy went into recession. To protect their own industries, countries began engaging in protectionism, mostly by putting up tariffs on imports. We all know what happened next. The recession turned into a depression, and it remains the biggest economic catastrophe in modern history. Let us hope that governments do not make the same mistake today. Economic prospects will be much better for everyone without any kind of currency war.

Asad is an Economics Graduate from The London School of Economics who has also been a part of the currency derivatives team of Deutsche Bank in London. Currently pursuing his PhD at the University of California San Diego where he's researching on Algorithmic Trading Strategies, Asad will be your direct line for answers to all the questions you might have on short-term investing. A part of the Equitymaster Team since 2010, Asad has been sharing his knowledge on short term trading strategies with our valued readers, like you, through our various services. In fact, at the last count, his weekly newsletter, Profit Hunter, was being delivered to more than 100,000 smart traders across the world!


The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Equitymaster do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site.

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Currency Wars". Click here!

1 Responses to "Currency Wars"


Oct 23, 2010

It is high time that SOPS for exports end at once. In India, our GDP is growing at over 8% for nearly a decade and yet exchange rate against dollar is worser than it was 10 years ago. This is a great Indian robbery. We are becoming mature economy and our currency should start doing how Canadian dollar, Australian Dollar behaving against dollar.

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Currency Wars". Click here!

More Views on News

Sorry! There are no related views on news for this company/sector.

Most Popular

The Foundation for Sensex 100,000 is Laid(The 5 Minute Wrapup)

Feb 17, 2018

Top three reasons for Tanushree's presentation at Equitymaster Conference to be centered around a possible 30% correction.

The Era of Easy Money is Coming to an End. What Happens Now?(Vivek Kaul's Diary)

Feb 9, 2018

The easy money policy of the Federal Reserve of the United States, which drove up stock markets all over the world, is ending, with the Federal Reserve looking to shrink its balance sheet.

The Markets Want Your Money. Don't Give It to Them.(Smart Contrarian)

Feb 9, 2018

MFs are having a gala time taking money from over-eager investors and funneling it into equities. Smart investors, though, know better than to do that.

The Big Gamble(The Honest Truth)

Feb 15, 2018

Once you accept the fact that elections are round the corner and that this budget is geared to reach a 40% target, everything makes sense.

NPAs Set to Rise Further with New RBI Rules(Chart Of The Day)

Feb 15, 2018

The RBI overhauls bad loan framework. Banks may come under additional pressure due to rising NPAs and increased provisioning.


Small Investments
BIG Returns

Zero To Millions Guide 2018
Get our special report, Zero To Millions
(2018 Edition) Now!
We will never sell or rent your email id.
Please read our Terms