The Economic Collapse
Are you ready for a currency war? Well, buckle up, because things are about to get interesting. This week Japan fired what is perhaps the opening salvo in a new round of currency wars by publicly intervening in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2004. Japan’s bold 12 billion dollar move to push down the value of the yen made headlines all over the world. Japan’s economy is highly dependent on exports and the Japanese government was becoming increasingly alarmed by the recent surge in the value of the yen. A stronger yen makes Japanese exports more expensive for other nations and thus would harm Japanese industry.
But Japan is not the only nation that is ready to go to battle over currency rates. The governments of the U.S. and China continue to exchange increasingly heated rhetoric regarding currency policy. In Europe, there is growing sentiment that the euro needs to be devalued in order to help European exports become more competitive. In addition, exporters all over the world are already loudly complaining about the possibility that the Federal Reserve is about to unleash another round of quantitative easing. Virtually all major exporting nations want the value of the U.S. dollar to remain high so that they can keep flooding us with lots of cheap goods. The sad reality is that our current system of globalized trade rewards exporting nations that have weak currencies, and many nations have now shown that they are willing to take the gloves off to make certain that their national currencies do not appreciate in value by too much.
Some nations have been involved in open currency manipulation for some time now. For example, Singapore is well known for intervening in the foreign exchange market in order to benefit exporters. Also, the Swiss National Bank experienced losses equivalent to about 15 billion dollars trying to stop the rapid rise of the Swiss franc earlier this year.
But as we race toward the end of 2010, currency manipulation is becoming a major issue on the world stage.
Rumors that the Federal Reserve is considering a substantial new round of quantitative easing is already causing many major exporting nations around the world to howl in outrage.